TORONTO (JTA) — Canada is banning nearly all imports to and exports from Iran, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said.
Baird announced the measure in the House of Commons on May 29, citing Ottawa’s “grave and sincere concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and [its] abhorrent human rights records and continued support for international terrorism around the world.”
Thirty individuals and 82 entities were added to the economic blacklist. They are all believed to be involved directly or indirectly with facilitating, supporting or funding Iran’s nuclear proliferation, Baird said.
The ban exempts food, medicine, medical equipment and other humanitarian goods, and some communications tools.
Baird said Iran has failed to engage the international community meaningfully, while the risk posed by its nuclear activities increases. The Iranian government has offered only “false promises and empty gestures,” he said.
“Canada’s new sanctions include exemptions for technologies that protect Iranians online and help them break through the regime’s curtain of propaganda,” the government’s statement said.
David Koschitzky, chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said in a statement that the organization applauds Baird “for strengthening Canada’s efforts to prevent the most dangerous regime in the Middle East, notorious for its abuse of human rights and support for terrorism, from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
In December, Ottawa announced sanctions against Iran that prohibited some imports and exports, including oil, natural gas and mining materials.
Canada shut its embassy in Tehran last September and ordered Iranian diplomats to leave Canada, accusing Iran of being the most significant threat to world peace.