Canada to implement new measures against the Iranian regime
Good afternoon, everyone.
Thank you for being here.
The Iranian regime continues to disregard… its irresponsible disregard for human rights. The women and the people of Iran have had enough of this oppressive regime.
Iranians have the right to live their lives, to make their own choices, and to speak loud and clear. But instead of listening to the people, Iran’s leaders are using violence to silence them. Here in Canada, we will continue to use our voices to support Iranians’ message of hope and freedom.
Here in Canada, we will continue to use all our tools to amplify the message of hope and freedom coming from the brave women in Iran and all those who stand with them, just like we will continue to stand with the families of flight PS752 victims.
This week marked the 1,000th day since the horrific downing of PS752. I spoke with families over the past few days, as I have many times over the past few years. I see their pain, their anger. Our government is relentless in the pursuit of justice for the families of the victims.
Canada has some of the toughest measures on Iran of any country in the world. For years, we’ve been condemning Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing behaviour in the region, including by declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism. And, just a few days ago, we announced new sanctions against 25 members of Iranian leadership, and nine entities. This list includes top military leadership, like those of the IRGC, Quds Force, and intelligence agencies, those directly responsible for the brutality and crimes.
Today, we are going much further. We’re taking steps that will raise the bar internationally in holding Iran accountable. First, we will be pursuing a listing of the Iranian regime, including the IRGC leadership, under the most powerful provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This is a measure that has only been used in the most serious circumstances against regimes conducting war crimes or genocide, like in Bosnia and Rwanda. This will make the top 50% of the IRGC leadership, the over 10,000 officers and senior members most responsible for this heinous state behaviour, inadmissible to Canada, denying them access to Canadian territory and opportunities. The designation of a regime is a permanent decision; this means that more than 10,000 members of the IRGC leadership, for example, will be inadmissible to Canada forever.
We will be designating the Iranian regime, including the IRGC, under the most stringent provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This is a measure that has been used only in the most serious circumstances against regimes that have committed war crimes and genocide, like Bosnia and Rwanda. Among others, 50% of the IRGC’s highest officials, including over 10,000 people, officers and senior members, will be inadmissible to Canada forever.
Second, we intend to massively expand targeted sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act to hold to account those people most responsible for Iran’s egregious behaviour.
We will massively expand the sanctions imposed under the Special Economic Measures Act so that those most responsible for Iran’s reprehensible behaviour are accountable for their actions.
This tool was unavailable to previous governments because only in 2017 did we expand Canada’s sanction regime to include human rights.
Third, we are expanding Canada’s capacity to fight money laundering and illicit financial activity, as well as to crack down on foreign interference to protect Iranian Canadians and other communities in Canada. We will accelerate the work to ensure that our agencies have the resources necessary to do the job. Therefore, today, we’re announcing $76 million to strengthen Canada’s overall capacity to implement sanctions.
This will ensure we can move more quickly to freeze and seize sanctioned individuals’ assets, building on new authorities we introduced in just the last budget. It will also support the establishment of a new sanctions bureau in Global Affairs Canada and new capacity at the RCMP. In addition, we are enhancing our ministerial directive on financial transactions associated with the Republic of Iran; we will restrict financial transactions with Iran associated with the IRGC and the proxies that support them. The actions we have taken, and are announcing today, are some of the strongest measures anywhere against Iran.
To the strong, resilient and proud Iranian Canadian community, we hear your voices. We heard your calls for action. That is why today we are using the most powerful tools at our disposal to crack down on this brutal regime, and the thousands upon thousands of individuals responsible for its heinous behaviour.
Our government will continue to pursue all the tools at our disposal, including Magnitsky sanctions. To the tens of thousands of Canadians who marched in solidarity with the courageous women in Iran, to the millions around the world who amplify their voices and their message, to the Iranian women themselves, from school girls to grandmothers standing against this oppressive regime: we stand with you and we will continue to.