Iran

New Developments

On November 24, 2013, Minister Baird announced Canada would evaluate the deal announced earlier that day between Iran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council + Germany) while maintaining the full force of sanctions against Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). Canada’s position was due to Iran’s failure to respond to the confidence-building measures proposed by the P5+1 group during talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan in April 2013, and the resulting absence of progress in negotiations with both the P5+1 and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Overview

The latest amendments impose a complete ban on imports from Iran and exports to Iran, subject to certain exemptions; add 82 new entities and 30 new individuals to the list of designated persons subject to a dealings prohibition; add an exemption aimed at increasing the availability of consumer communication technologies that contribute to internet freedom; add an exemption for goods used to purify water for civilian and public health purposes, and for the provision of listed medical equipment; and expand the existing exemptions for the provision of legal services.

On July 26, 2010, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada was imposing sanctions on Iran under the SEMA, in addition to existing sanctions passed under the United Nations Act. These new sanctions were imposed because Iran was violating its international obligations by ignoring successive UN Security Council resolutions to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and suspend its enrichment-related activities. Therefore, in close consultation with like-minded partners, including the United States and the European Union, and building upon UN Resolution 1929, Canada implemented further sanctions against Iran under the SEMA.

On October 17, 2011, following reports of an Iranian-coordinated plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Canada added the names of five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, suspected of orchestrating the plot, to the list of designated persons.

On November 21, 2011, in response to the IAEA's November 9, 2011 assessment of Iran's nuclear program, Canada imposed further sanctions under the SEMA, which prohibited financial transactions with Iran; expanded the list of prohibited goods to include all goods used in the petrochemical, oil and gas industry in Iran; amended the list of prohibited goods to include additional items that could be used in Iran's nuclear program; and added new individuals and entities to the list of designated persons.

On January 31, 2012, Canada imposed further sanctions against Iran under the SEMA in order to maintain unity with the measures announced by the Foreign Ministers of the European Union member states. The measures added three new individuals and five additional entities of proliferation concern to the list of designated persons.

On December 11, 2012, further sanctions were introduced against Iran under the SEMA in response to Iran's continued lack of cooperation with the IAEA and the P5+1 group, and to maintain unity and consistency with the European Union and other countries. The new measures added 98 new entities and one individual to the list of designated persons. They also prohibited the export to Iran of different types of goods used in the shipbuilding, mineral exploration, mining, metal production, and telecommunications industries; vessels designed to transport or store crude oil or its products; hard currency totalling $40,000 or more in value; and new goods of proliferation concern. The expanded measures also prohibited the import of natural gas, oil, and petroleum or petrochemical products from Iran; the provision of marketing and other financial or related services in respect of certain prohibited goods; the provision of flagging or classification services to Iranian oil tankers or cargo vessels; and the provision of insurance and reinsurance to Iran or any entity in Iran. In order to relieve some of the pressure on ordinary Iranians, recent Iranian immigrants to Canada, and family members of persons in Iran, the Iran Regulations were also amended to allow all financial banking transactions of $40,000 and under between family members in Canada and family members in Iran.

On May 29, 2013, Minister Baird announced further additions to the sanctions against Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act (the SEMA), due to Iran’s failure to respond to the confidence-building measures proposed by the P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UNSC + Germany) in the Almaty, Kazakhstan talks in April 2013, and the resulting absence of progress with both the P5+1 and the IAEA.

Sanctions

Non-UN-mandated sanctions

Sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations prohibit all of the following:

  • dealing in the property of designated persons (as listed in Schedule 1);
  • exporting, selling, supplying or shipping goods, wherever situated, to Iran, to a person in Iran, or to a person for the purposes of a business carred on in or operated from Iran, subject to certain exemptions;
  • transferring, providing or communicating to Iran or any person in Iran any technical data related to goods listed in Schedule 2, or any technical data required for:
    • the manufacture, use or maintenance of arms and related material,
    • the refining of oil or the liquefaction of natural gas,
    • the production of petrochemicals,
    • the building, maintenance or refitting of ships,
    • the transportation or storage of crude oil, or petroleum or petrochemical products,
    • drilling and mineral surveying and exploration, or
    • the processing, storing or handling of liquid natural gas;
  • importing, purchasing, acquiring, shipping or transhipping any goods that are exported, supplied or shipped from Iran after May 29, 2013, whether the goods originated in Iran or elsewhere, subject to certain exemptions;
  • providing or acquiring marketing services, or any financial or other services in respect of the import, purchase, acquisition or shipment of natural gas, crude oil, or any petroleum or petrochemical products from Iran;
  • 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;
  • conducting any financial transaction with Iran, subject to certain exemptions;
  • making an investment in an entity in Iran;
  • providing or acquiring insurance and reinsurance to, from or for the benefit of, or on the direction or order of, Iran or any entity in Iran;
  • establishing correspondent banking relationships with Iranian financial institutions, or purchasing any debt from the government of Iran;
  • providing a vessel owned or controlled by, or operating on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) with services for the vessel's operation or maintenance; and
  • providing any flagging or classification services to Iranian oil tankers or cargo vessels.

The exemptions to the import and export ban include exemptions for personal or settlers' effects, informational materials, correspondence, and packages sent by mail for non-commercial reasons.

The exemptions to all prohibitions except for those involving dealings with designated persons include exemptions for equipment, services and software that facilitate secure and widespread communications via information technologies; goods used to purify water for civilian and public health purposes; and activities that have as their purpose, the safeguarding of human life, disaster relief, or the proivison of food, medicine and medical supplies as listed in Schedule 3. The exemptions apply to related financial services as well.

A separate Special Economic Measures (Iran) Permit Authorization Order, made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of the Special Economic Measures Act authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.

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 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.

The measures imposed against Iran pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions include:

  • a prohibition on the export to Iran of certain items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran's uranium enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems (the regulations refer to a number of goods listed in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Information Circulars INFCIRC/254/Rev.9/Part 1 and INFCIRC/254/Rev.7/Part 2 and UN Security Council document S/2010/263, as well as to a number of goods listed in Group 1 (Dual-Use List) and Group 2 (Munitions List) in A Guide to Canada's Export Controls, available in PDF format on the website of the DFATD Trade Controls & Technical Barriers Bureau);
  • a prohibition on the provision to any person in Iran of technical assistance, financial services, brokerage or other services related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of any of the products subject to the export ban;
  • a prohibition on making available to any person in Iran any property, financial assistance or investment, related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of any of the products subject to the export ban;
  • a prohibition on making property or financial services available to Iran for the purpose of investing in specified nuclear-related activities;
  • a prohibition on providing any technology in respect of any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons;
  • a prohibition on the export to Iran of any battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircrafts, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems;
  • a prohibition on the import from Iran of arms and related material and items related to proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems (listed in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Information Circulars INFCIRC/254/Rev.9/Part 1 and INFCIRC/254/Rev.7/Part 2 and UN Security Council document S/2010/263);
  • an assets freeze against persons and entities engaged in Iran's uranium enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or in the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, who have been listed by the Security Council or the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 18 of resolution 1737 (2006) ("the 1737 Committee");
  • a travel ban against persons listed by the Security Council or the 1737 Committee as being involved in Iran's nuclear program; and
  • a prohibition against claims by Iran or designated persons in relation to any transactions prevented by reason of the sanctions imposed against Iran.

Canada also has certain policy measures in place with regard to Iran, outside the context of United Nations Security Council decisions. More information on these measures can be found at the following link: Canada-Iran Relations.

Selected documents

Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Regulations made under the United Nations Act:

Links

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions relating to this page, please e-mail: sanctions@international.gc.ca.