Baird Expands Sanctions Against Iran

December 11, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Despite intensive efforts by the international community to engage Iran on its nuclear program, the Iranian regime refuses to comply with its international obligations, cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or enter into meaningful negotiations.

“Canada is taking further action against the Iranian regime by expanding sanctions.

“Our government has amended the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations to list an additional 98 entities associated with the Iranian regime as designated persons, ratcheting up pressure on entities supporting Iran’s nuclear program, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij paramilitary organization.

“Canada’s measures also target economic sectors that indirectly support or provide funds for Iran’s nuclear program: oil and gas, mining, metals, and shipping. The amended regulations further isolate Iran from the global financial system.

“These amendments align Canadian sanctions with measures adopted by our allies and partners. Canada’s clear stand against the Iranian threat further strengthens international pressure on the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime must address, with urgent and concrete action, the international community’s grave concerns over its nuclear activities.” [Download Video Quote]

For more information, please visit Canadian Economic Sanctions: Iran.

- 30 -

A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI

Backgrounder - Additional Sanctions on Iran

Effective immediately, the additional individuals and entities announced today will be subject to an assets freeze and a prohibition on economic dealings. With these new measures, the total number of designated persons rises to 50 individuals and 433 entities.


In July 2010, Canada implemented sanctions against Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). These sanctions prohibited all of the following:

  • dealing with designated individuals and entities, such as dealing 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.

The Special Economic Measures (Iran) Permit Authorization Order (SOR/2010-166), made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of SEMA, 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.

On October 18, 2011, Canada imposed sanctions on a further five Iranian individuals, four of whom are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

On November 22, 2011, in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) assessment of Iran’s nuclear program, Canada imposed additional sanctions under SEMA.

These amendments served to:

  • 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, prohibiting dealings with these persons and entities; 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.

The 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.

An exemption was also introduced to allow non-commercial remittances of $40,000 or less, to allow for transactions such as transfers of funds between relatives.

On January 31, 2012, Canada expanded its sanctions against Iran, to add five new entities and three individuals to the list of designated persons. They joined a long list of supporters and associates of the Iranian regime whose assets have been frozen. These sanctions cover the known leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and block virtually all financial transactions with Iran, including those with the Central Bank.

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 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

On September 7, 2012—in light of the Iranian regime’s increase of military aid to the Assad regime in Syria, Iran’s refusal to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to the country’s nuclear program, its deplorable human rights record and anti-Semitic rhetoric—Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement announcing the closure of the Canadian embassy in Iran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Canada. All Canadian diplomatic staff left Iran, and Iranian diplomats in Ottawa were instructed to leave within five days.

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 2011 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 of the Iranian authorities.

The 2010 resolution was co-sponsored by 42 other UN member states and was supported by 89, with only 32 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.

For more information, please see Canada-Iran Relations.

Media Center