World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran accused Canada on Saturday of "hostile behaviour" under Israeli and British influence after Ottawa cut diplomatic relations, and it raised the prospect of swift retaliation.
Canada said on Friday that it was closing its embassy in Tehran and gave Iranian diplomats five days to leave the country.
Ottawa cited Iran's nuclear work, its hostility toward Israel and alleged military aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is battling a popular uprising.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the Canadian move was a "continuation of anti-Iranian policies" by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government, which has long had poor relations with Tehran.
"The current government of Canada under the leadership of Mr Stephen Harper is known for extreme policies in the domain of foreign policy," Mehr news agency quoted Mehmanparast as saying.
"The hostile behaviour of the current racist government in Canada in reality follows the policies dictated by the Zionists (Israel) and the British."
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who heads Iran's influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, said there could be an "immediate and decisive" response to Canada's action, Fars news agency reported.
"It is essential that the foreign ministry respond to this action by Canada on the basis of national interests."
Canada's 10 diplomats in Iran have already left Tehran, the Canadian foreign ministry said on Friday.
Mehmanparast said the Canadian move was an attempt to nullify Iran's diplomatic success in hosting a summit of Non-Aligned Movement developing countries last month, which he said Canada had tried to scuttle.
He said Canada's anti-Iranian policies included a ban on money transfers for Iranian students studying in Canada and the blocking of the bank accounts of ordinary Iranians as a result of Western sanctions imposed on Iran's banking sector.
There is a large Iranian diaspora in Canada, with more than 120,000 people reporting Iranian ethnic origins.
Ottawa's bilateral relations with Tehran deteriorated markedly in 2003, when Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in Tehran's Evin prison while in custody.
The closure of Ottawa's Tehran mission is the most significant row between Iran and another country since the ransacking of the UK embassy, which British officials said could not have happened without some level of government consent.
The United States has not had a functioning embassy in Tehran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, when 52 Americans were held for 444 days.
Meanwhile, five Christian anti-balaka militiamen were killed Saturday in an attack on Kilometer 5, a predominantly Muslim district of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, eyewitnesses said.
An Egyptian court has ordered the release of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltag.
As recently as 2012, Hungary was found guilty of violating Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights in regards to the detention of asylum seekers.
More than 300 Palestinian women participated in the protest, which was organized by a Qalandia women's association on the occasion of the International Women's Day.
Far-right Orthodox groups in Bulgaria have been calling on volunteers to fight in Ukraine for Russian forces.
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said he did not believe Russia switching off Europe's gas supply would be in their interests.
Armed men are marking the homes of Crimean Tatars as the peninsula heads towards a referendum to join Russia, a move the Crimean Tatars oppose.
121 children are believed to have died in the drought-hit Thar desert şn the last three months.
Hosni Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six other Interior Ministry officials are accused of inciting the killing of hundreds of protesters during the January 25 revolution, which ended Mubarak's autocracy.
The Polish foreign ministry advised all Polish nationals to leave Crimea.
Last week, the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) announced the suspension of talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N.
China will sell the Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines to its close regional ally in line with a contract that is already “in an advanced stage”.
Rebels who declared independence from the Tripoli government have started exporting oil.
In recent weeks, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah crossing, which – due to an ongoing, eight-year Israeli siege – represents Gaza's only window to the outside world.
The Al-Nour clinic was raided and shut down by Mauritanian authorities on Friday and one of its workers was arrested.
Turkey close to finishing the long-awaited project that will supply water to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.