Canada and the United States are advising against any "non-essential" travel to Iran in the wake of the Middle East nation firing missiles at targeted bases in Iraq occupied by U.S. military personnel.

The Tuesday attacks were in retaliation against a U.S. drone strike that took place in Iraq on Friday, killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Consider the risks

Calling hostilities in Iran a “volatile security situation,” the Canadian government raised its advisory alert on Wednesday.

"Canadians, particularly dual Canadian-Iranian citizens, are at risk of being arbitrarily questioned, arrested and detained," read the advisory. "Iran does not recognize dual nationality and Canada will not be granted consular access to dual Canadian-Iranian citizens. Canadian-Iranian dual citizens should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Iran."


Level 4 advisory

Meanwhile, the U.S. travel advisory has remained at Level 4 since Dec. 26.  It's warning citizens to avoid travelling to Iran because of high risks similar to conditions expressed in the Canadian advisory.

At particular risk, noted the advisory, are business travellers, journalists, academics and students, who may find themselves detained on questionable grounds of espionage and posing a threat to Iranian national security.

Crash killed 63 Canadians

The elevation of danger in Canada's travel advisory took place in the wake of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 occupants. The flight, bound for Kyiv, included 63 Canadian passengers.

While Iranian airport officials claim the cause was related to mechanical failure, Iran's Civil Aviation Authority is refusing to reveal the contents of the flight recorders to block any U.S. involvement in the crash investigation. Canada announced it fully expects to take part in the investigation, but lacking direct diplomatic connections, is relying on Italy to convey messages to the country.

The compounding circumstances of increasing political unrest and a downed Ukrainian airlines flight have resulted in several airlines altering their routes to avoid flying into Iranian airspace.