03/02/2015 10:58 EST | Updated 05/02/2015 05:59 EDT

John Baird says he's skeptical about nuclear talks with Iran

John Baird is expressing skepticism about Iran even as nuclear talks with that country reach a sensitive stage.

Canada's former foreign affairs minister says he doesn't buy what he calls Iran's PR job,

He says he is leery about a government that stifles dissidents and supports Syria's Assad regime.

Baird says the world can't allow a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

He's delivering his message at the 2015 American-Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, an annual conference of the biggest pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S.

Baird was on stage only a couple of hours before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to speak about the potential danger of an international nuclear deal with Iran.