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  February 25th, 2016 | Written by

Canada Amends its Sanctions Against Iran

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  • The amendments to Canada’s Iran sanctions will remove impediments on financial transactions.
  • Canada continues to maintain tight restrictions on exports to Iran of military goods.
  • Canadian government: Applications for export permits to Iran of the most sensitive items will normally be denied.

Canada has made changes to economic sanctions against Iran and has signaled Canada’s willingness to resume dialogue with Iran.

The move comes following the January confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran had fulfilled all necessary commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Canada has amended its sanctions against Iran to allow for a controlled economic re-engagement, including lifting the broad ban on financial services, imports, and exports.

Canada continues to maintain tight restrictions on exports to Iran of military goods, services, and technologies such as nuclear goods and technologies, as well as those that could assist in the development of Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

A Notice to Exporters has been issued indicating that while all applications for export permits will be considered on a case-by-case basis, permit applications to export the most sensitive items on the Export Control List will normally be denied. Canada will also maintain a revised list of individuals and entities of most concern in relation to the risk of proliferation and to Iran’s ballistic missile activities and with whom any transactions would continue to be prohibited. Canada has added six individuals and one entity in response to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Canada has had no real engagement with Iran since September 2012, when the embassy of Canada in Tehran was closed and Iranian diplomats were expelled from Canada.

“Broad sanctions brought Iran to the negotiation table, resulting in an agreement which has rolled back Iran’s nuclear program—an agreement with which Iran is complying,” said Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs. “We need to recognize this progress and continue to encourage Iran to fully comply with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

“With these amendments to Canadian sanctions against Iran, Canadian companies will now be able to position themselves for new trade opportunities, but we will also maintain rigorous controls on any exports that raise serious proliferation concerns,” added Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade.

Canada’s exports to Iran peaked at $772 million in 1997. With the imposition of sanctions, this number declined to $67 million in 2014, comprising mostly food products exempt from sanctions.

Canada’s measures under the State Immunity Act and the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, and the listing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code, have not changed.