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Canada Joins Conference on Disarmament Boycott

Canada on Tuesday said it would join the United States in boycotting the international Conference on Disarmament when Iran takes over as president later this month, the Canadian Press reported.

"In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, the regime is working directly against global disarmament goals and subverting the fundamental principles of this committee," Rick Roth, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said in prepared comments. "Iran's leaders blatantly ignore their international obligations, all while undermining regional security."

Iran from May 27 to June 23 will take the figurehead leadership position at the 65-state forum in Geneva, Switzerland. The Obama administration has already said its ambassador to the conference, Laura Kennedy, would not be in attendance during that period.

The U.N. Security Council has approved four sanctions resolutions against Iran over national nuclear operations suspected of being intended to produce a weapons capability. Those penalties are augmented by sanctions delivered by the United States and a number of other nations. Tehran says its atomic activities have no military aim.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is a founding member of the United Nations," Reuters quoted Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, as saying on Tuesday.

"Its election to the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament, as the most important disarmament negotiating body of the U.N., is its right in accordance with the established practice and rules of procedure of this organ," Miryousefi added.

Indonesia is the current president of the forum, which for more than 15 years has failed to agree on a work plan for negotiations of new arms control treaties.

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