Canada should serve as a moral role model for other countries around the world, President Shimon Peres said in a special message addressed to Ottawa in praise of its decision to sever diplomatic ties with Iran.

Peres sent out the special message while attending a conference in Italy. In it, he said that Canada had proven once again that it puts principles first. He added that all nations should strive to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb at all costs.

It was unthinkable, he wrote in the message, that a UN member state should threaten to annihilate another member state while other states looked on.

On Friday, Canada’s Conservative government said it was shutting its embassy in Tehran and severing diplomatic relations with Iran, which Canada says is providing military assistance to Syria.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said that the Canadian embassy in Tehran will close immediately and Iranian diplomats in Canada have been given five days to leave.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry subsequently slammed Canada’s announcement, calling the decision “hasty and extreme” and warning that an Iranian response was not long in coming.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, issued a statement praising Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his “bold leadership,” which he said sends a “clear message to Iran and the entire world.”

“I would like to commend Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a step that showed leadership and daring,” Netanyahu said.

“One week after the display of anti-Semitism and hatred in Tehran, the government of Canada is taking a moral step of the highest order. Canada’s determination is very important in order for the Iranians to understand that they cannot continue their race after nuclear weapons. This practical measure needs to serve as an example of international responsibility for the global community. It is important that the international community join in this pressure by setting Iran clear red lines,” the prime minister concluded.