OTTAWA -- Israel's prime minister has praised Prime Minister Stephen Harper's diplomatic divorce with Iran and wants other "responsible members" of the international community to follow Canada's lead, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Harper on Sunday for taking the "bold, moral step that showed leadership" and said the decision sends a signal to the entire world that "Iran must not have nuclear weapons."
Canada announced it would cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Friday, sparking speculation the decision was made in advance of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear sites.
But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has maintained Canada's actions are not linked to mounting suspicions Israel may proceed with actions against the nuclear facilities.
Several countries, including Israel, are concerned Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, but officials maintain they are developing nuclear rods to generate electricity and medical radioisotopes for cancer treatments.
Canada says it now views Iran as "the most significant threat to global peace and security" in the world and it has concerns surrounding the country's nuclear program, its hostility towards Israel and its alleged military assistance to Syria.
In response to the decision to sever ties, Iranian officials quoted by Tehran-based news outlets suggested Canada could be a target of retaliation following its decision.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, said there could be an "immediate and decisive" response to Canada's action, according to Fars news agency.
Harper responded to the vague threat when questioned by reporters in Russia and said he did not "necessarily" expect specific actions but said "we should all know by now that this is a regime that does not stop at anything."
Questions are also mounting about the future of three Canadians on death row in Iran but Harper says "we will continue both from Ottawa through our partners and allies to continue to advocate on behalf of Canadians who have those kinds of difficult consular situations, legal situations in Iran."
Harper, however, said Canada's influence on Iran prior to the decision to nix ties "was minimal."