Statement by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon Regarding U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 and Additional Canadian Sanctions on Iran

June 22, 2010

The global threat posed by state and non-state actors' potential use of nuclear weapons remains very real.

Further to Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper's statement this morning, I can present additional information on the sanctions that Canada has imposed against Iran.

These sanctions are designed to restrict Iran's nuclear program, and they send a clear message to the Iranian regime that international standards cannot be flouted without consequences.

This action is aligned with UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which was adopted earlier this month. Resolution 1929 builds on successive UN Security Council resolutions.

If Iran continues to defy its UN obligations, it could undermine security in the Middle East and around the world. Canada will continue to hold Iran accountable for its actions.

UN Security Council sanctions introduce restrictions that further limit Iran's access to uranium, nuclear materials and technology, both directly and through third parties, such as key members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

I would like to emphasize, in no uncertain terms, that these sanctions are not intended to punish the Iranian people. Canada has the utmost respect for the people of Iran and their proud history.

Rather, these targeted measures are a direct response to the Iranian regime's continued violation of its international obligations, further to numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

As a member of the United Nations, Canada has a responsibility to ensure that Iran's nuclear activities do not continue to threaten peace and security in the region and elsewhere. Indeed, all UN members must act quickly and collectively to address the Iranian regime's continued deceit and intransigence.

Canada is therefore imposing additional sanctions and using its G-8 presidency to maintain pressure on Iran.

Canada has implemented all Security Council decisions pertaining to Iran to date, and we continue to implement our controlled engagement policy vis-à-vis Iran.

These measures also send a strong message to all states-particularly those with nuclear aspirations-that failing to comply with the international standards will result in consequences.

The Iranian regime must cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, most notably by suspending its enrichment-related activities and by addressing serious concerns about the military dimensions of its nuclear program.

We further urge Iran to agree to a constructive dialogue with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States with a view to reaching a diplomatic solution as soon as possible.

In the absence of a positive response from Iran, Canada stands ready to implement additional sanctions to address Iran's egregious violations and continued threat to global peace and security.

Canada will keep in close step with our international partners to urge Iran to comply with international law.

Canada will also continue to use our G-8 presidency to maintain international focus on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran was a key issue of discussion when I met with my G-8 counterparts at the foreign ministers' meeting in Gatineau last March. It will certainly be a key issue of discussion when leaders meet in Muskoka this week.

Finally, I would like to stress that Canada's concerns with Iran's nuclear program in no way detract from our equally serious concerns with Iran's human rights situation.

Just two weeks ago, we marked the one-year anniversary of the disputed elections in Iran that led to appalling repression by the Iranian regime.

The ongoing use of violence and intimidation, and the arrest of opposition members and supporters, is intolerable.

The Iranian regime must uphold its human rights commitments by allowing freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly; by protecting religious minorities; by respecting the human rights of prisoners and detainees; and by ensuring the equal treatment of women and girls.

Work toward international peace and security, and the promotion of human rights are mutually reinforcing.

We cannot hope to have one without the other. This is what Canada stands for.

Thank you.