Canada: other sanctions against Iran, including prosecutor Zahra Kazemi

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has added 20 more Iranian officials and entities to its sanctions list. He says Ottawa will bar entry to thousands of regime officials within weeks.

“We don’t just do fancy rhetoric. It’s concrete, it’s tangible,” said Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would forever ban more than 10,000 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from entering Canada and spend $76 million to better enforce sanctions.

The federal government provided more details on Thursday on how these sanctions work, in addition to confirming the ban on 17 other people and three entities from entering the country or doing business with most Canadian companies.

The application of the sanctions leads to the addition of 30 new members and officials of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police within a few weeks, announced Mr. Mendicino.

He also promised a way for the public to report the movements of Iranian regime officials in Canada.

For his part, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said thousands of people would be barred from Canada based on intelligence about whether they had been senior members of the Revolutionary Guards.

This is similar to restrictions used against regimes that have committed war crimes or genocide, such as in Bosnia and Rwanda.

« People who meet the definition of being arrested because of their connection to the regime will in effect become inadmissible to Canada whether their specific name is on a list or not, » he said.

Mr. Fraser added that this generally applies to the relatives of these people, unless they are traveling alone.

The move followed growing pressure from conservatives and members of the Iranian diaspora in Canada to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.

Justice Minister David Lametti believes this would punish Iranians who opposed the regime, who had been conscripted into the IRGC and had served in non-combat roles.

“The terrorist listing provisions of the Criminal Code are a brutal instrument. Sometimes they don’t give us the precision we need to really target bad actors without also catching innocent people.

“I am here to tell you that the path we have chosen is better.”

Tory MP Garnett Genuis said it was an excuse, given the Liberals helped pass a House of Commons motion in 2018 to list the IRGC as a terrorist group. According to him, the Liberals are trying “to deflect attention from their failure to deliver on this fundamental promise”.

Regardless, Minister Mendicino asserted that Canada is still trying to determine how many people in the country served as Revolutionary Guards, both those who were drafted into the lower ranks and those who held leadership positions.

He also did not say whether the travel ban applies to top IRGC leaders since its founding in 1979.

“We are putting the money and the resources in place to ensure that these sanctions can be implemented, so that we can hold those accountable, and at the same time defend human rights here and around the world.”

Meanwhile, new sanctions unveiled by Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly apply to Iranian officials who have committed or enabled human rights violations against women.

The list includes Mohammad Javad Zarif, the recent longtime Iranian foreign minister. Also included is Saeed Mortazavi, the prosecutor who ordered the torture of Zahra Kazemi, a photojournalist who died in custody in Tehran in 2003.

Ten years earlier, Ms. Kazemi had obtained Canadian citizenship and settled in Quebec.

She had been arrested a few weeks before the announcement of her death while taking photographs of a demonstration which took place in front of a prison in the Iranian capital.

In an interview in Seoul, South Korea, Ms. Joly said it was particularly important to enroll Mortazavi.

« My message to the Iranian regime is that we have not forgotten and we will never forget, and that is why we are imposing these new sanctions, » the minister said.

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