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Timeline: Canada’s diplomatic relationship with Iran

Canada-Iran relations complicate search for answers
WATCH ABOVE: Canada-Iran relations complicate search for answers

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Jan. 10, the Canadian government updated the number of Canadians killed in the Jan. 8 Ukraine International Airlines crash in Iran from 63 to 57.

It has been 65 years since Canada and Iran first established diplomatic ties.

Those have frayed and been mended many times before the deadly crash of a Ukraine International Airlines flight near Tehran killed all on board, including 63 Canadians and dozens more passengers bound for Canada.

Here is a brief timeline of events in the relationship between Iran and Canada:

Iran plane crash: searching for answers
Iran plane crash: searching for answers

1955: Formal diplomatic relations established.

1956: The first Iranian mission opens in Ottawa.

1959: Canada dispatches its first head-of-mission to Tehran.

READ MORE: Champagne stresses need for answers in crash probe with rare call with Iran

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1979: During the Islamic Revolution, Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor helps shelter six staff of the U.S. embassy over 79 days. Taylor, with help from the CIA, plans to have the six leave Iran using a cover story that they were in Iran to film a movie.

1980: The six Americans leave Iran using fake Canadian passports. Taylor leaves the country as well, and the Canadian Embassy closes.

1988: Canada sends a large team of military observers as part of a United Nations mission to oversee a ceasefire between Iran and neighbouring Iraq following a war between those two nations. The Canadian Embassy reopens.

1990: Canada names an ambassador to Iran, the first since the embassy reopened two years previously.

63 Canadians among 176 killed in plane crash in Iran
63 Canadians among 176 killed in plane crash in Iran

2012: Canada closes its embassy in Iran and expels Iranian diplomats in Canada. It severs diplomatic ties over Iran’s being found to not be in compliance with a UN Security Council resolution about its nuclear program. Italy assumes the role of Canada’s voice in Iran.

The Harper Conservatives list Iran as a state supporter of terrorism and list the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force, led by Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as terrorist entities.

2015: Canada is the lead sponsor of a UN resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran.

2016: The Trudeau Liberals announce their willingness to re-engage directly with Iran and possibly restore diplomatic ties.

READ MORE: Trudeau says Iranian missile likely brought down plane, killing dozens of Canadians

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2020

Jan. 3: An American drone strike kills Soleimani, sparking retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on two American military bases in Iraq, one near the city of Irbil that had Canadian soldiers five days later.

Canada has long used Irbil as its main base for special-forces troops working with Iraqi forces in northern Iraq. In addition to the special-forces soldiers, Canada has a helicopter unit and dozens of support personnel on the base.

Trudeau: Canada expects to play a role in Tehran plane crash investigation
Trudeau: Canada expects to play a role in Tehran plane crash investigation

Jan. 8: On the same day of the missile strikes, a Ukraine International Airlines plane, a Boeing 737-800, crashes five minutes after take-off from Tehran’s airport. The nine crew members and 167 passengers are all killed.

During an afternoon press conference in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 138 of the passengers were on their way to Canada, including 63 Canadians.

(Sources: Global Affairs Canada, The Canadian Press)