Embassy closure worries local Iranian-Canadians

Some Iranian-Canadians living in Edmonton are concerned by the impact that Canada’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with the Iranian government.

Ahmad Sabetghadam, who teaches Farsi at the University of Alberta, said the decision could mean serious problems for students from Iran.

"All of a sudden I said 'Oh my God, what's going to happen to all these students who come here on a visa basis?'" he said.

"And also there's a lot of financial matters have to be taken care of usually done through the embassy too."

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Friday the government is formally listing Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and has expelled the country's diplomats from Canada.

Sabetghadam said students rely on the embassy to get documents for their studies, and he is worried about how they will get them with the embassy being closed.

"Things like their passport, other documents they need to get approved for continuation of their program graduate program. All those things are going to be affected," he said.

He also worries how the closure will affect the Persian restaurant he owns, as he often has to import specialty foods from Iran.

Sabetghadam said the suddenness of the announcement leaves many people unsure what to do next.

"Always people [who] suffer the most, at the bottom of things," he said.

Siavash Saffari, who moved to Canada 15 years ago, worries the diplomatic fight will make things more difficult for people with family abroad.

"It will affect a lot of Iranians who have family in Canada it's going to make it much more difficult for them to obtain visas to come and visit their families."

Saffari said people from Iran have an uneasy feeling in the wake of what's happened.

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