Canadian sanctions against Iran

Between 2006 and 2010, the UN Security Council imposed four rounds of sanctions in response to Iran’s nuclear program. The UN sanctions regime, supplemented by autonomous sanctions applied by a number of countries, including Canada, played a key role in getting Iran to the table on nuclear negotiations.

On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and  Russia, plus Germany), led by the European Union, concluded an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was endorsed by the Security Council in Resolution 2231 (2015). A key milestone for the nuclear deal was reached on what is known as “Implementation Day,” on January 16, 2016 following confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had fulfilled the prescribed commitments under the JCPOA, rolling back Iran’s nuclear program and subjecting it to extensive and ongoing international verification. Implementation Day also triggered immediate changes to sanctions imposed by the UN, the United States and the European Union against Iran, resulting in significant nuclear sanctions relief for Iran.

UN Security Council Resolution 2231(2015) mandates ongoing restrictions on the export of certain arms to Iran for up to 5 years, ballistic missile technologies for up to 8 years, and on nuclear and dual-use items for up to 10 years. It also contains a “snapback” provision whereby sanctions could be re-applied if Iran fails to fulfill its commitments under the agreement. All UN Member States, including Canada, are obliged to implement the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).

Canada, together with like-minded countries, also imposes sanctions against Iran going beyond those required by the UN.  The aim of Canada’s autonomous sanctions, imposed under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA), is to continue to pressure Iran to meet its international commitments, and to ensure that Iran cannot source from Canada items which may contribute to its military or pose a risk of proliferation. Under the Iran SEMA Regulations, Canada maintains a list of goods that are not allowed to be sold, supplied or shipped to Iran and a list of designated individuals and entities subject to asset freezes, with whom all transactions involving property are prohibited. Under the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Permit Authorization Order, the Minister of Foreign Affairs may issue a permit to allow transactions that would otherwise be prohibited under the Iran SEMA Regulations. These permits are issued on a case-by-case basis, at the Minister's discretion.

Finally, Canada continues to restrict the export to Iran of a wide range of proliferation-sensitive products listed on the Export Control List (ECL), under the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA). See Notice to Exporters Serial No. 196 for further information.

Further information about Canada's sanctions against Iran

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