AFP: Canada's newly-appointed ambassador to Iran will get into "trouble" if he pursues the case of murdered Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, Iran's foreign ministry warned Sunday. "If anyone enters Iran on this mission they get themselves into trouble. This is a domestic issue of the
Islamic Republic of Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters. AFP

TEHRAN - Canada's newly-appointed ambassador to Iran will get into "trouble" if he pursues the case of murdered Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, Iran's foreign ministry warned Sunday.

"If anyone enters Iran on this mission they get themselves into trouble. This is a domestic issue of the Islamic Republic of Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

Last week Canada named a new ambassador to Iran, to replace an envoy recalled during a diplomatic spat over Kazemi's death and the subsequent failure of Iranian authorities to identify her killer.

In naming new ambassador Gordon Venner, Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew said it was crucial for Canada to have top level representation in Tehran and he warned that Canadians believed that Iran's handling of the Kazemi case was "offensive".

"Canada remains deeply committed to this case ... Justice denied is offensive to Canadians. This case will be pursued energetically," Pettigrew said on Tuesday.

Kazemi, 56, died in hospital here in July 2003 after sustaining a blow in custody.

Between her arrest and her admission to hospital, Kazemi was interrogated by judicial prosecutors, the police and the intelligence ministry, rival power centres in Iran, which have since blamed each other for the death.

Intelligence ministry agent Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, 42, was cleared of "quasi-intentional murder" in July 2004, and the judiciary said later Kazemi's death seemed to have been accidental as "the only suspect" had been found not guilty.

But despite his warning to Canada, Asefi said the case was still being pursued.
"It is nevertheless being followed up by the government and the judiciary, and I hope the rights of nobody, including those of the Kazemi family, are ignored," he told reporters.

The case had badly damaged relations between Iran and Canada. Iran does not recognise dual nationality, and insists Canada has no say in the matter.

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