Politics

Canada adds 12 names to Iran sanctions list

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has announced the federal government is adding 12 senior Iranian regime officials to its sanctions list — individuals Ottawa says participated in "gross and systematic human rights violations in Iran."

Sanctioned officials are members of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Law Enforcement Forces

Iran's Revolutionary Guard troops march in a military parade in a 2016 file photo in Tehran. Canada has imposed sanctions on 139 individuals since the IRGC's crackdown on Iranian protesters began last fall. (Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press)

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has announced the federal government is adding 12 senior Iranian regime officials to its sanctions list — individuals Ottawa says participated in "gross and systematic human rights violations in Iran."

"The Iranian regime continues to brutally oppress its people and to deny them their fundamental rights and freedoms," Joly said in a media statement.

"We hear the pleas of the Iranian people and we commend them for their bravery and resilience. Canada will not stop advocating for Iranians and their human rights."

In reaction to the Iranian regime's crackdown on human rights protesters last fall, the Canadian government introduced a number of sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities. These latest additions to the list mark the ninth round of sanctions. 

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has listed key agents of the Iranian regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corpsm (IRGC) and more than 10,000 senior IRGC officials, as inadmissible to Canada.

The 12 senior officials added to the list Monday include members of the IRGC and Iran's Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), which GAC says has been involved in the "lethal suppression of demonstrations across Kurdish areas of Western Iran."

Also on the list of 12 are: 

  • Morteza Mir Aghaei, commander of Basij paramilitary forces in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province.
  • Esmaeil Zarei Kousha, governor of Kurdistan Province.
  • Seyeh Sadegh Hosseini, IRGC general and commander of the IRGC's Beit al-Moqqadas Corps in Kurdistan Province.
  • Rahim Jahanbakhsh, LEF second brigadier general and commander of the LEF in West Azerbaijan Province.

The federal government said that adding these individuals to the sanctions list today bans them from entering Canada and prohibits any dealings with them. It also means any assets they may hold in Canada have been frozen.

A bloody crackdown

The recent unrest in Iran was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by Iran's morality police in September for not wearing her headscarf properly.

The protests that ensued after her death in police custody represent one of the biggest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

The Basij force, affiliated with Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, has been behind much of the crackdown against protesters.

According to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been tracking the human toll of the regime's crackdown on protesters, almost 20,000 people have been arrested and more than 500 have been killed since protests began. 

Canada has sanctioned 139 Iranian individuals and 189 Iranian entities, including the IRGC and the regime's security intelligence and economic apparatus.

Tehran's military aid to Moscow during the current war in Ukraine — Iran has supplied Russia with its own drones, for example — has also angered the West.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Zimonjic

Senior writer

Peter Zimonjic is a senior writer for CBC News. He has worked as a reporter and columnist in London, England, for the Daily Mail, Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph and in Canada for Sun Media and the Ottawa Citizen. He is the author of Into The Darkness: An Account of 7/7, published by Random House.