Mr. Speaker, before I start I want to acknowledge the great work that the member for Mount Royal has been doing on the human rights issues around the world. I would like to commend him for the work that he has done.
Canada is deeply concerned by the Iranian government's continued disrespect for the human rights of its citizens, its destabilizing regional role and its nuclear proliferation activities.
I would say to the hon. member that Canada has taken a very strong stand against Iran. Since February 2007, Canada has imposed multilateral sanctions in line with four UN Security Council resolutions against Iran's nuclear activities. Since July 2010, Canada has imposed two major rounds of sanctions in tandem with our allies and concerned countries around the globe against the belligerent government of Iran.
Most recently, on November 21, 2011, Canada again implemented a number of strong measures against Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act. These expanded sanctions prohibit almost all financial transactions with the Iranian government, add individuals and entities to the list of designated persons and expand the list of prohibited goods. With the enactment of the 2011 round of sanctions, Canada has targeted measures in place that prohibit the export of any goods used in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry in Iran. This comprehensive ban covers the Iranian crude sector.
In the same round of sanctions, Canada prohibited virtually all financial transactions between Canada and Iran, including transactions with the central bank as part of more comprehensive measures against Iran, which is what the member has been demanding.
Innocent citizens of Iran are not intended to be the target of these sanctions. The nature and scope of these measures have been proportional to the defiance and non-compliance of the Iranian regime to the international community. Their purpose is to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to address the concerns of Iran's nuclear program and the military linkages that were revealed in the most recent IAEA report.
Canada has already targeted several branches of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, notably, as the member has said, many of the forces are in the IRGC.
Canada's concerns about human rights violations in Iran are long-standing. As part of its ongoing efforts to promote respect for human rights in the country, Canada led the adoption of the resolution “Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran” in the fall 2011 session of the United Nations General Assembly. This is the ninth consecutive year Canada has led this initiative. The resolution was co-sponsored by an additional 42 member states and supported by 89 in the vote, with only 30 member states voting against it. This represented the largest margin of adoption since Canada assumed lead of this resolution in 2003.
Canada's sanctions against Iran are among the toughest in the world. We will continue to lead the international community's attempts to put pressure on Iranian authorities to comply with their international obligations and return to negotiations regarding its nuclear weapons.