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Statement on Iran’s Nuclear Program

November 24, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic measure should be taken to ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. We appreciate the earnest efforts of the P5+1.

“Effective sanctions have brought the regime to present a more moderate front and open the door to negotiations. Today's deal cannot be abused or undermined by deception. The Iranian people deserve the freedom and prosperity that they have been denied for too long by the regime's nuclear ambitions. Until then, Canadian sanctions will remain tough, and in full force.

“A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Canada and its allies, but it would also seriously damage the integrity of decades of work on nuclear non-proliferation. It would provoke other neighbouring states to develop their own nuclear deterrent in an already volatile region. 

“We will evaluate today's deal not just on the merits of its words, but more importantly on its verifiable implementation and unfettered access of all Iranian nuclear facilities.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder – Sanctions Against Iran

Iran remains subject to eight United Nations Security Council resolutions, including sanctions, and 12 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolutions for its undeclared and proliferation-relevant nuclear activities.

Canada has implemented a system of sweeping and stringent nuclear and economic sanctions against Iran, expanding those imposed by the UN Security Council and our Allies, to compel Iran to engage meaningfully with the international community, including through the P5+1 and the IAEA. The Canadian ban on Iranian imports and exports goes well beyond sanctions stipulated by the Security Council. Canada will maintain these tough sanctions against Iran in order that it take a different path for its nuclear program.

Iran also recently agreed to a “New Framework for Cooperation” with the IAEA (November 11, 2013), which includes access to some new nuclear sites in Iran. In order to establish that the Iranian nuclear program is devoted solely to peaceful purposes, the IAEA requires access to all relevant sites, equipment, persons, and documents in Iran. We urge Iran to provide this access without delay.