(No. 305 - October 18, 2011 - 3:10 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement in response to the recently foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States:
"In response to credible allegations of the Iranian regime's involvement in an assassination plot last week, Canada is imposing new sanctions on five Iranian nationals believed to be complicit in its planning.
"These new measures will place travel restrictions on these individuals and ban any Canadian individual or entity from engaging in financial dealings with them.
"Iran's current leaders regularly ignore their obligations under international law. They obfuscate Iran's nuclear activities and they block international attempts to verify the country's claims. They do so while continuing to violate the human rights of Iranian citizens and undermining regional security.
"As Prime Minister Harper said recently, the regime in Tehran represents probably the most significant threat to global peace and security.
"This foiled plot is yet more proof of the threat posed by the current Iranian regime. Canada will continue to work with its international partners to pressure the regime to change its dangerous ways."
Backgrounder - Additional Iran Sanctions
Effective immediately, Canada is imposing new sanctions on five Iranian individuals. Four of them are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). The additional individuals announced today, and named below, bring the total of those targeted by Canada's sanctions to 279 entities and 47 individuals.
Newly named individuals
Qasem Sleimani, IRGC-QF commander
Hamed Abdollahi, IRGC-QF senior official
Abdul Reza Shahlai, IRGC-QF official
Ali Gholam Shakuri, IRGC-QF official
Existing Canadian sanctions
In July 2010, Canada implemented additional sanctions against Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act. These sanctions were in addition to existing sanctions passed under the United Nations Act. The sanctions prohibit all of the following:
- dealing with designated individuals and entities, such as dealings in any property, or making any goods or financial or related services available to a designated individual or entity;
- exporting or otherwise providing to Iran arms and related materials not already banned, items that could contribute to Iran's proliferation activities, and items used in refining oil and gas;
- providing technical data related to these goods;
- making any new investment in the Iranian oil and gas sector, or providing or acquiring financial services for this purpose;
- providing or acquiring financial services to allow an Iranian financial institution (or a branch, subsidiary or office) to be established in Canada, or vice versa;
- establishing correspondent banking relationships with Iranian financial institutions, or purchasing any debt from the Government of Iran; and
- providing services for the operation or maintenance of a vessel owned or controlled by, or operating on behalf of, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
In addition, the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Permit Authorization Order (SOR/2010-166), made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of the Special Economic Measures Act, authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue a permit to any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Iran.
Existing UN sanctions
Since 2006, the United Nations Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran in response to its nuclear program. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council adopted resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010) imposing sanctions against Iran in response to the proliferation risks presented by Iran's nuclear program and in light of Iran's continuing failure to meet the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to comply with the provisions of earlier Security Council resolutions. These resolutions require Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA and to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
The Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Iran, as amended, implement the decisions of the Security Council in Canadian domestic law. Implementation of the travel bans imposed by resolutions 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010) is ensured in Canada under existing provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
For the past eight years, Canada has been the lead co-sponsor of the annual resolution at the UN General Assembly on the situation of human rights in Iran. The 2010 resolution highlighted long-standing violations of human rights by the Iranian authorities, such as the persistent discrimination against and violation of the fundamental human rights of women and girls, stoning and amputation, widespread discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, and media censorship and harassment of human rights defenders, including women's rights activists. Canada has pledged to continue to stand with the people of Iran against the oppression from the Iranian authorities.
The 2010 resolution was co-sponsored by 41 other UN member states and was supported by 80, with only 44 member states voting against. This represented the largest margin ever in favour of this resolution, signalling the international community's deepening concern with the human rights situation in Iran.