Iran summons Canadian envoy after dress code claim

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May 25, 2006 00:11
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Canada's ambassador to Iran was summoned to the foreign ministry, state television reported Wednesday, in an apparent diplomatic fallout from remarks by the Canadian prime minister after a report suggested religious minorities in Iran would be forced to wear badges. Iranian television gave no reason for Ambassador Gordon Venner's summons. But it came days after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper criticized Iran over a report last Friday in a Canadian newspaper, The National Post, quoting Iranian exiles as saying a new law would force Jews, Christians and other religious minorities in Iran to wear special patches of colored cloth to distinguish them from Muslims. Harper said such a dress code could "remind people of Nazi Germany." Iranian lawmakers denied any such provision existed in a bill to encourage Islamic dress. A copy of the draft law obtained by The Associated Press made no mention of religious minorities or any requirement of special attire for them, and the Post later posted an article on its Web site backing off the report. Relations between Canada and Iran cooled after the 2003 death of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, arrested by Iranian authorities while covering a demonstration. In November, an appeals court has upheld the acquittal of an Iranian intelligence agent and ruled Kazemi's death was not premeditated.

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