Canada slaps sanctions on Iran for human rights violations amid protests

Last week, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said new sanctions would be placed on Iran in light of the violent crackdown on protesters.

 National Flag of Canada (Queen's Park, Toronto). (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
National Flag of Canada (Queen's Park, Toronto).
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Canadian government announced a series of sanctions against Iranian officials and entities on Monday due to "gross human rights violations" committed against protesters in Iran in recent weeks.

The new sanctions targeted 25 individuals and nine entities, including senior Iranian officials and entities involved in repressive measures, violations of human rights and the spread of the Iranian government's propaganda and misinformation.

Among those sanctions are Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Mohammed-Hossein Bagheri, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami, IRGC Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani, the IRGC's cyber defense command, the Evin Prison, used to house political prisoners, Iran's morality police and Iranian Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib.

Press TV, the Basij Resistance Force, the daughter of former Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Zeinab Soleimani, and former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani are also among those designated.

"These sanctions are in response to gross human rights violations that have been committed in Iran, including its systematic persecution of women and in particular, the egregious actions committed by Iran’s so-called ‘Morality Police,’ which led to the death of Mahsa Amini while under their custody," said the Canadian government in a press release.

 Women hold a picture of Mahsa Amini during a sit-in following her death, at Martyrs' Square in Beirut, Lebanon September 21, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR) Women hold a picture of Mahsa Amini during a sit-in following her death, at Martyrs' Square in Beirut, Lebanon September 21, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR)

"Iran’s continued grave and ongoing breaches of international law are well known and documented, including its blatant disregard for human life. Canada will always stand with Iranians and the victims of this regime, including with the families and loved ones of the victims of the downing of Flight PS752."

The sanctions prohibit dealings related to the designated individuals and entities, freezing any assets they hold in Canada. These individuals are also rendered inadmissible to Canada.

“Canada will continue to speak up and defend human rights — women’s rights — because it is the right thing to do," said Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly. "Our message to Iran is clear: the continued and systemic persecution of Iranian women must stop and they will be held accountable for human rights violations and blatant disregard for human life. Canada applauds the courage and actions of Iranians and will stand by them as they fight for their rights and dignity.”

Trudeau to Iranian protesters: We stand with you

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be implementing new sanctions against "dozens of individuals" in light of the violent crackdown on protesters in Iran.

"We've seen Iran disregarding human rights, time and time again, and now we see it again with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protesters," said Trudeau. "To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you: We stand with you. We join our voices - the voices of all Canadians - to the millions of people are demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves."