Canada Supports Intensified Restrictions on Iran

(No. 194 - July 8, 2011 - 10:30 a.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, today announced that Canada, together with the United Kingdom and the United States, is increasing restrictions on the Iranian authorities to hold them accountable for their international human rights obligations:

"Simply put, Iran’s complete disregard for human rights is unacceptable.

"The message to the Iranian leadership is clear: Iran will not take its place as a full and respected member of the international community until its government meets its international and domestic obligations.

"Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States will coordinate to prevent Iranian human rights offenders or individuals connected with the nuclear program from entering our countries.

"Canada is working with like-minded partners such as the United Kingdom and other members of the international community to encourage Iran to change its behaviour."

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada’s Response to Human Rights Situation in Iran

Despite sustained international efforts, including the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which increased measures against Iran to encourage it to comply with its international nuclear obligations, Iran not only remains intransigent on the nuclear issue but has continued human rights abuses against its own population. Among those who continue to suffer are the seven Bahá’í leaders who have remained in prison since 2008; opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest since February 2010; and Sakineh Ashtiani, who continues to face the possibility of execution after a highly questionable judicial process. Numerous others have been brutally assaulted by security forces and jailed for attempting to exercise their rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

In addition to the imposition of sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act in July 2010, Canada has taken numerous other measures to hold Iran to account. John Baird, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has issued a number of statements on the situation in Iran, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken a personal interest in the case of Sakineh Ashtiani. Since 2003 Canada has been the lead sponsor of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution entitled The Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Canada also takes action against individual human rights violators from Iran and elsewhere. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, under section 35 (1), contains provisions for the inadmissibility of individuals responsible for human or international rights violations. According to this legislation, any foreign national is inadmissible if he or she has committed an offence referred to in Sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Canada works in cooperation with like-minded partners, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, to make sure that such violators are flagged to visa officers around the world.

The efforts of the United Kingdom and other partners are invaluable in helping us hold Iran to account for its violations of human rights and its failure to meet its nuclear obligations.

For further information, please visit Sanctions against Iran.