Minister Baird Expands Sanctions on Iran

November 21, 2011

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement announcing additional sanctions against Iran:

"Canada is deeply disturbed by the information contained in the most recent International Atomic Energy Agency report on the state of Iran's nuclear program. It is yet more proof that the current regime in Tehran poses the most significant threats to global peace and security today.

"We are compelled to take further action as a result.

"Canada is implementing, as of right now, a series of even tougher measures under the Special Economic Measures Act. These expanded sanctions prohibit almost all financial transactions with the Iranian government, add individuals and entities to the list of designated persons and expand the list of prohibited goods.

"We are taking aggressive action to cover the known leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and block virtually all transactions with Iran, including those with the Central Bank, while providing an exemption allowing Iranian-Canadians to send some money to loved ones back in their home country.

"Iran's current leaders blatantly ignore their international obligations. They obfuscate Iran's nuclear activities and they block any international attempt to verify the country's claims. They do so while continuing to violate the human rights of their own citizens, all while undermining regional security.

"Canada will continue to work with the growing list of like-minded countries in a bid to limit the ability of Iran's rulers to further undermine peace, prosperity and stability."


Effective immediately, in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s November 9 assessment of Iran's nuclear program, Canada is imposing new sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). The new regulations will do the following:

- prohibit financial transactions with Iran, subject to certain exceptions;
- expand the list of prohibited goods to include all goods used in the petrochemical, oil and gas industry in Iran;
- amend the list of prohibited goods to include additional items that could be used in Iran's nuclear program;
- add new individuals and entities to the list of designated persons found in Schedule 1 of the Iran Regulations; and
- remove certain entities that have been recommended for removal by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that no longer present a proliferation concern for Canada.

It should be noted that the new prohibitions on financial transactions and goods used in the petrochemical, oil and gas industry in Iran do not apply to contracts entered into prior to November 22, 2011.

On October 18, Canada imposed sanctions on five Iranian individuals. Four of them are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force. These individuals brought the total of those targeted by Canada's sanctions to 279 entities and 47 individuals.

Canadians with relatives living in Iran will still be able to send funds to family members, provided those relatives are not listed individuals.

Existing Canadian sanctions

In July 2010, Canada implemented sanctions against Iran under SEMA. These 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 Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations.

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 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.

Other measures

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 the annual resolution, signalling the international community's deepening concern with the human rights situation in Iran.