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Canada Freezes Trade with Iran

Canada ratchets up its sanctions against Iran, bans almost all exports to and imports from the country.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/30/2013, 5:16 AM

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
AFP photo

Canada ratcheted up sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, adding 30 individuals and 82 entities to an economic blacklist and banning almost all exports to and imports from the country, according to the Canadian Press.

“Canada’s new sanctions include exemptions for technologies that protect Iranians online and help them break through the regime’s curtain of propaganda,” said a release announcing the latest round of economic measures.

The fine print describes the technologies as “equipment, services and software that facilitate secure and widespread communications via information technologies.”

Canada’s decision to exempt such tools comes after the government co-hosted a two day online event earlier this month aimed at reaching activists inside the regime to provide a much-needed boost of morale ahead of the elections, reported the Canadian Press.

It’s part of the government’s efforts to maintain contact with Iranians despite having cut off formal diplomatic ties with Iran last September.

“While we have lost faith in the regressive, clerical military dictatorship of the Ayatollah, we have not lost faith in the people of Iran,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Wednesday.

The latest round of Canadian sanctions comes after talks last month between Iran and the members of the United Nations Security Council, as well as Germany, failed to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Similar efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency have also been unsuccessful.

“Canada, like many of our closest allies, is taking every possible effort to halt Iran’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities,” Baird said, according to the Canadian Press.

“The path of nuclear non-compliance will only bring further isolation for Ayatollah Khameini’s clerical, military dictatorship,” he added.

In September, Canada announced it would expel Iranian diplomats from its territory and withdraw Canada's representatives from Iran.

Baird explained at the time that Canada is cutting off ties with Iran because “Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and thanked him for the decision.

In April, Baird visited Israel and met with President Shimon Peres, who praised Canada for breaking off relations with Iran, saying that it was an “act of bravery, Canada took a clear stand against the greatest danger of our time, and this shows its courage. We greatly appreciate it."

Canada has also expanded its sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to include the entire corps — a parallel military of more than 100,000 and a covert terrorist group behind attacks well beyond Iran’s borders.