Canadians of Iranian descent, victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism, and human rights advocates, are supporting S-219.
What can sanctions achieve? – Despite clear limitations, sanctions have been utilized as an instrument of statecraft by Canada and other western countries in hundreds of cases over the last century – even when the sanctions themselves have not directly generated a “solution” for the crisis or behaviours being targeted.
They function as a “middle ground” policy on “a ladder of escalation” – on which diplomacy occupies the low end of the scale and military options occupies its polar opposite.37 This “middle ground” enables states to pursue specific policy goals that would otherwise remain inadequately addressed by conventional diplomacy and when military means are inappropriate, inviable or truly a last resort to be avoided.
These sanctions can serve a variety of shorter and longer-term purposes which go well beyond the obvious desire of ultimately inducing change in the egregious behaviours of the offending state.
In this respect S-219 is not unlike like other sanctions that Canada and other western countries have imposed on totalitarian regimes for human rights violations. These sanctions are designed to:
a) Create a concretized policy position which formally defines the severity of an issue, often of moral consequence, that must not go unacknowledged in state policy. This is particularly important in cases like Iran, where political and economic engagement with the sanctioned entity will continue and could be perceived as tacit endorsement of criminal and/or immoral behaviour. By concretizing public censure with some form of mandated penalty or restriction, sanctions formally insert the issue of concern into the relationship-construct with the targeted state. Being censured as a matter of law through sanction is qualitatively different than doing so through diplomatic reprimand – both for the state initiating the sanction and the state or entity targeted by the measures.
b) Impose limitations that restrict the utilization of the sanctioning state’s resources for the illegal/immoral behaviours of the targeted state. Even if the imposed restriction does not constrain the sanctioned state from continuing its behavior, western countries must minimally ensure that their resources are not responsible for actively perpetuating the crimes in question. Failure to do so can create an actual or perceived level of complicity in the acts being condemned. This not only constitutes a serious moral issue but may also have serious political and legal consequences at a later date.
c) To act as a tool in the incremental development of international norms – i.e. the establishment of a behavioural baseline determining what is beyond the pale of acceptability in state behaviour. Sanctions are one component within a cumulative process of creating a public policy “platform” to legitimately take more assertive and effective measures against extreme modes of criminalized statecraft in the future. This is a particularly significant instrument in contending with the most malevolent of totalitarian regimes like Iran or North Korea that are unbounded by international law; unconstrained by moral or political frameworks of accountability; and largely impervious to diplomatic overture.
a) S-219 is intended to serve as one component of a long-term multi-pronged process aimed ultimately at deterring Iranian terrorism and human rights violations. S-219 will balance Canada’s efforts to diplomatically and economically reengage with the Islamic Republic of Iran and augment Canada’s commitment to holding one of the globe’s most odious regimes accountable for its terrorism and human rights violations. Sanctions will also limit the regime’s capacity to utilize Canadian resources for its nefarious activities.
b) S-219 is neither designed nor intended to generate immediate change in regime behaviour, nor is a change in regime bahviour alone, the only appropriate measure of the import of this bill. In fact, none of the sanctions regimes imposed by Canada over the years against countries like Burma or Zimbabwe for human rights violations were enacted on the basis of this very narrow threshold.
c) Similarly, the import of S-219 should not be measured exclusively by the level of economic damage it inflicts on the sanctioned entities. As noted by Dr. Richard, Nephew, one of the architects of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and a critic of some aspects of S-219:
[I]f there are important international leaders who are prepared to make certain stances clear about human rights, for instance, and their unwillingness to do business for human rights purposes …, that can allow for a leadership role that's outsized to the practical economic implication.38
Nephew further noted that:
…Human rights sanctions against Iran have had an impact. They certainly don't like them. The history of Iran, especially revolutionary Iran, is one of trying to get the rights of the population protected from the Shah, and I think there are a lot of people in the Iranian government who take great umbrage to being called a human rights violator. It cuts against a national sense of self. I'll tell you, we designated hundreds of Iranian officers, and when it was for missiles or support for terrorism, they didn't bat an eye. When it was human rights, they got very upset.39
d) S-219 is a particularly important instrument in contending with the Iranian regime which has been largely impervious over four decades to diplomatic overtures and incentives40 seeking to significantly mitigate its malign activities across the globe – activities which have only expanded41 since the nuclear sanctions were lifted under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) in 2015.
This bill provides for strengthening of Canada’s sanctions regime against Iran for its support of terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations; and for the identification of Iranian officials responsible for such activities. The Act has several key components: a. Government Report –...Read More
Iran’s illegal and egregious actions against Canadian citizens; its status as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism; its severe violation of the human rights of its own citizenry; and its flouting of the international community have generated these tensions with Canada and other countries. As outlined below, the difficulties ...Read More
What can sanctions achieve? – Despite clear limitations, sanctions have been utilized as an instrument of statecraft by Canada and other western countries in hundreds of cases over the last century – even when the sanctions themselves have not directly generated a “solution” for the crisis or behaviours being targeted. ...Read More
S-219 was introduced by Conservative Senator David Tkachuk and was seconded by Liberal Senator George Baker. S-219 is supported by a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to combatting terrorism, promoting human rights, and supporting the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy. Sen. Tkachuk worked closely with a ...Read More
This bill will not impose further hardship on ordinary Iranian citizens in Iran who have already been victimized by the regime’s policies. As noted by Richard Nephew – an architect of the JCPOA who was critical of some aspects of S-219: In this case, the unintended consequences on the humanitarian impact of this bill are probably ...Read More
S-219 does not preclude a restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran or business dealings between Canada and the Iranian regime. It simply offers a framework for balancing Canada’s stated concerns with Iran’s egregious behaviours and the government’s objective of reengagement. It seeks only to exclude those regime entities ...Read More
Iran is currently doing business with Canada despite being subject to Canadian sanctions under SEMA, and despite being listed by Canada as a State Supporter of Terror. (Iran for instance recently purchased $100 million in aircraft from Bombardier47). Furthermore, Iran is “engaging” other countries that also have imposed sanctions ...Read More
It is the Iranian regime which has put itself – with malice and forethought – on the margins of the civilized world by its own behaviors over the last 37 years. Most recently with the signing of the JCPOA the regime was provided yet another opportunity to demonstrate some semblance of good will on issues related to terrorism and ...Read More
There is little if any precedent suggesting that Iranian violations can be mitigated by merely engaging in diplomatic disapproval or issuing condemnatory statements ungrounded in a concrete legislative format: a) Past Precedents –The Iranian regime has made itself perfectly and unabashedly clear over the last 38 years, that it ...Read More
Canada already sanctions Iran under SEMA. S-219 simply stipulates that those sanctions already in place can be lessened only if Iran shows significant change with regard to terror sponsorship, human rights abuses and incitement to hatred. It also applies existing sanctions to additional targets as if they were persons whose names are listed in the ...Read More
Yes. a) As noted at greater length in FAQ #12, the precedents for sanctioning Iran under SEMA are clear. In the case of Burma for instance, SEMA regulations were imposed as a result of the abhorrent human rights and humanitarian situation in Burma is particularly dangerous as the government's actions not only oppress its own people,...Read More
Yes. a) In May 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed the first human rights-related sanctions designations against Iranian individuals and entities since December 2014.62 b) In April 2017, the European Council has extended sanctions against Iran. The extended EU measures hitting Iran include a travel ban and asset-freeze ...Read More
Yes. a) On August 2, 2017, President Trump signed Congressional sanctions against Iran, known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The law requires the president to extend a terrorism designation pursuant to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its foreign agents and affiliates by Oct. ...Read More
The precedent for sanctioning the Iranian regime for these violations was established in Canadian policy long before S-219 was introduced in the Senate. Here are several examples: a) Prime Minister Brian Mulroney The first precedent for sanctioning Iran’s legislatively mandated and institutionalized discrimination towards minorities, ...Read More
a) While we support the passage of the Magnitsky Bill, we do not believe that the Magnitsky legislation could be a substitute for S-219 - or vice versa. We believe that each of these bills provides different tools for different albeit related issues -- and one cannot take the place of the other. Both are needed as part of ...Read More
Freedom House 2017 Report - Iran74 Iran’s Aggregate Score – 17/100 (0=least free, 100=most free) Human Freedom Index 2016 – Iran75 Iran’s Human Freedom ranking – Iran ranked 157 out of 159 countries Personal Freedom score – 3.9/10 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index ...Read More
Yes – it is essentially mandated in Iran’s constitution. Euopean Parliament Report: “[Twelver Shia Islam is] – the only religion deemed ‘revolution compliant’ by the state. First, the Iranian Constitution itself enshrines discrimination by stating in its article 13 that the only recognised religious minorities...Read More
Yes. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human rights in Iran notes that the Government accepted only 2 out of the 25 recommendations regarding ethnic and religious minorities made during the 2014 universal periodic review.80 Amnesty International: Iran’s disadvantaged ethnic minorities, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, ...Read More
Professor Winston Nagan: “Having grown up with the indignities of the apartheid system in South Africa, I bristle whenever … anyone equate a government's treatment of a portion of its citizenry to apartheid. Usually, the claims are exaggerated. But in Iran today, the government's treatment of the Baha'i community...Read More
Speaking to commanders of the Iranian regime's State Security Forces Rouhani stated that: “When someone is condemned to death and he comes to the gallows according to the law, then we have no right to insult him as he is being taken to the gallows… in any case, the law has condemned him and he is punished and this has nothing to do...Read More
Yes. The UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “The Islamic Republic of Iran has reportedly executed the highest number of juvenile offenders worldwide, over the past decade. Despite an absolute ban on the practice under international law, the Islamic Penal Code still explicitly provides for the death penalty for boys of at least 15 lunar years of...Read More
Yes. The UN Special Rapporteur (2017) -- The Government did not accept any of the 20 recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur regarding torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment made during the 2014 universal periodic review. As highlighted in previous UN reports, the Government rejects the notion that amputations ...Read More
UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “Child marriage remains legally possible for girls aged 13 years and boys aged 15 years. Even younger children can be married with the permission of the court but the marriage may not be consummated until puberty. In June 2016, a spokesperson for the Tehran-based Association to Protect the Rights of Children ...Read More
UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “…Certain provisions might even condone sexual abuse, such as article 1108 of the Civil Code, which obliges wives to fulfil the sexual needs of their husbands at all times. Similar concerns apply to provisions such as articles 301 and 612 of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013, which provide for lighter ...Read More
Yes. The increase was noted in a 2016 report by the European Parliament98, and Iran in fact has not denied it. See the following excerpt from an Iranian newspaper: Financial Tribune (Mar. 2017): An Iranian lawmaker said western intelligence services and spying networks are trying to "inflict damage on our country" by taking advantage ...Read More
Prof. Payam Akhavan – McGill University, Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague “Until very recently, Iran’s biggest trading partner was the EU. …[M]ore than 200 Iranian dissidents were assassinated in the streets of Berlin and Paris and very rarely was the Iranian government held to account. So the ...Read More
No. According to most human rights experts the situation has remained unchanged or has worsened: The UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “The Special Rapporteur regrets that the information she received did not reveal any notable improvement in the situation of human rights in the country.”103 The Hon. Irwin Cotler (Senate ...Read More
Report of the European Parliament (2017): “Similarly, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran concluded that political and legislative reform has not produced tangible effects. More specifically, there is a major gap between the legislation that has been put in place and the practices implemented by the state in ...Read More
Apparently not – despite promises112 to do so. See below: Brigadier General Hossein Salami – Deputy Commander of the IRGC Tasnim News Agency (2016): "We warn the enemies of Islamic Republic of Iran: Do not make this mistake again as the revolutionary forces will chase them and kill them anywhere in the ...Read More
Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah (June 24, 2016) “Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of ...Read More
The U.S. State Departments 2016 Country Report on Terrorism lists 58 "Foreign Terrorist Organizations," (many of them are also designated as terrorist entities by Canada) of which over a dozen are allied with Iran.125 Terrorism experts maintain that has Iran invested billions of dollars in terrorism: a) Congressional Report ...Read More
Yes. Iran is Listed in Canada as a State Supporter of Terror – Iran is listed in Canada (and in the U.S.) as a State Supporter of Terrorism. On July 1st, 2017, the Canada Gazette reported that after a review, the Foreign Minister determined that Canada will continue listing Iran and Syria as “State Supporters of Terrorism” ...Read More
Yes. Several Canadians were murdered in Hamas terrorist attacks, including Mr. Scott Goldberg, a father of seven who was murdered when a Hamas terrorist incinerated a busload of travelers in January 2004 in Jerusalem. Other Canadians have been injured in Hamas attacks, including Dr. Sherri Wise of Vancouver. Dr. Wise was severely injured in a...Read More
Yes. The list can be found below: a) Iranian-Canadian Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani – just sentenced to five years in prison for espionage, is an accountant involved in the financial aspects of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). b) Canadian Permanent Resident Saeed Malekpour (2008 - ?) – Malekpour was arrested in October 2008...Read More
Public Safety Canada: "Hezbollah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement.”137 Hezbollah Expert Mathew Levitt: “Hezbollah has been active in Canada since the 1980s raising money through criminal activities and charity, procuring dual-use items, ...Read More
Yes. a) Iran’s Spymaster: Lobbying Group for Iran is Active in Canada (2017) “Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, in recent remarks bragged about the Islamic Republic’s ability to operate an unnamed “lobby group” in the United States, Canada, and England, remain devoted to the ...Read More
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