OTTAWA — Canada has toughened sanctions on Iran to bring them in line with a recent resolution by the United Nations.
The new measures would further limit Iran’s access to uranium, nuclear materials and technology both directly and through third parties, such as key members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the prime minister’s office said in a statement Monday.
Then move comes ahead of the G8 summit, which Canada is hosting later this week in Muskoka, Ont. The nuclear threats posed by Iran and North Korea will be high on the agenda.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Canada will use its G8 presidency to press Iran to abandon what the West says is its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“I would like to underscore, in no uncertain terms, that these sanctions are not intended to punish the people of Iran. Canada has the utmost respect for the people and their proud history,” Cannon said.
The announcement brings Canada in line with its allies and with the June 9 resolution by the UN, which imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.
“If Iran goes forward and continues with its constant threat … and develops its nuclear capability, the consequence is frightening,” said Cannon.
“The consequence of Iran in the Middle East having nuclear capability is something that I don’t think any Canadian nor anybody in the world community wishes to see.”
Canada’s action coincided with the release of a report Tuesday that blasted Iran as a genocidal and nuclear threat bent on wiping out Israel.
The report brands Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a war criminal and calls on the United Nations and the international community to hold his regime accountable for its anti-Semitic policies.
The report was endorsed by 100 international scholars and politicians, including former Canadian foreign ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Flora MacDonald, and chaired by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a human-rights lawyer.
“Simply put, we are witnessing in Ahmadinejad’s Iran the toxic convergence of four distinct — yet interrelated dangers — the nuclear threat; the genocidal incitement threat; state-sponsored terrorism; and the systematic and widespread violations of the rights of the Iranian people,” says the report.
Based on the lessons learned in Rwanda, the Balkans and Darfur, the report says, Iran has “already committed the crime of incitement to genocide …”
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is an instrument of state-sponsored terrorism, and the repression dissidents at home and abroad, says the report.
It documents how the declining human-rights situation hit new lows following last June’s “fraudulent presidential elections” and the subsequent violent crackdown on the mass protests.
“Hard sanctions” that target Iran’s oil exports will ultimately bring the Islamic regime to it knees, said Caspian Makan, the fiancee of Neda Agha-Soltan.
Agha-Soltan was the young Iranian woman whose murder last year was captured on mobile-phone video and became a symbol of the Iranian protest movement that grew out of the disputed presidential ballot.
“I wish to echo Neda’s dream,” Makan told a news conference in Ottawa in support of Cotler’s report. “Her dream was freedom, not just for Iranians but all human beings.”
Makan said he came to Canada to fight for his country’s freedom.