Canada Will Lift Sanctions on Iran
According to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, he will be moving ahead to lift the sanctions on Iran and normalising their relationship.
Dion made a comment in response to a question from the Conservative Foreign Affairs critic, Clement. He was referencing a report that said that Bombardier was doing business with Iran.
“Does Bombardier know something that the rest of Canada doesn’t?” Clement asked. “Has the government already lifted sanctions against Iran?”
Dion said “The UN has asked for the sanctions to be lifted … so that Iran doesn’t use nuclear technology for military purposes,” adding, “with our eyes open we are going to respond to this report from the United Nations.”
The Conservative MP Peter Kent asked whether, in light of Iran’s support for the Assad regime in Syria and its threats against Israel, “the government (will) abandon plans to normalize relations with Iran and keep sanctions in place?”
Dion responded that the former government’s approach to Iran was “not good for the people of Iran … for the promotion of human rights … for our strategic interests in the region … for Israel.”
“We will change this policy,” Dion said.
Dion did not say when the sanctions on Iran would be lifted but he told reporters outside the House of Commons that they will be lifted in a speedy fashion, but also effectively.
Dion called the Conservatives approach “ideological and irresponsible”.
“We think when you have a disagreement with a regime you don’t pull out, you work harder,” he told reporters. “It’s what our allies did in negotiating with Iran an agreement that is good for the world.”
Dion also said that leaving the sanctions in place when countries like the US and the European Union had lifted sanctions, would impact business in Canada.
However, Dion did not say whether the sanctions would be lifted on the civil aviation industry. This would then allow Bombardier to sell to Iran.
Iran said a few days ago that they would be ordering 114 planes from France-based Airbus.
International trade lawyer Lawrence Herman said that there are plenty of Canadian businesses looking to enter the Iranian market. Examples of these are technology providers, service providers and engineering firms.
The sanctions that Dion has spoken about lifting are not the only ones that Canada has on Iran, but it was not said whether these sanctions would be lifted.
“There are still some tricky waters to navigate to make sure no Canadian company runs afoul of existing sanctions,” he said.
In addition to the UN sanctions, the previous Conservative government closed its embassy in Tehran in 2012. They passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act which allows victims of terrorism to sue Iran.
The interim leader of the Conservatives, Rona Ambrose, urged the Trudeau government to proceed with caution.
“I think we should still be very suspicious of what their intentions are with their nuclear program and really the onus is on them … to prove to the world that they’re a trustworthy partner,” Ambrose told reporters last Monday.
“The other issue about taking sanctions away is,” she added, “once those sanctions are removed, Iran is going to flood the market with cheap oil which has a huge effect on the Canadian economy.”
When sanctions are placed on countries it is often the people of the country that suffer the most, not the politicians or those responsible for the sanctions. This is a step forward and hopefully, it is a fruitful one.