Canada laments cracks in Iran, Syria sanctions

OTTAWA — Canada’s top diplomat on Tuesday lamented cracks in the West’s imposing of sanctions on Syria and Iran while also urging Russia and China to get onboard.

“We’d like to see others follow suit with the tough sanctions that Canada has” imposed on Iran, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said one day after new sanctions against the Islamic republic were announced by the United States, Britain and Canada.

On Syria, he added: “We can’t even get a resolution of condemnation, let alone sanctions… through the UN Security Council.”

“That’s regrettable,” he said in comments directed at Russia and China after the two permanent members of the Security Council blocked UN sanctions against Syria.

The new sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran after the publication of the UN nuclear watchdog’s most damning report yet on the Iranian nuclear program.

The measures seek to limit the West’s links with the Iranian Central Bank — which has been key in funneling proceeds of energy sales to Iran’s government.

Iran’s energy sales are thought to account for around 70 percent of the government’s budget and are crucial to the broader Iranian economy.

However, the US government stopped short of adopting fully blown sanctions against Iran’s central bank. And the British measures reportedly will not directly impact trade in Iranian oil.

Canada does not import oil from Iran, but banned sales to Iran’s petrochemical, oil and gas industry.

Iran, already hit with four rounds of UN sanctions, strongly denies its nuclear program is geared towards making a bomb.


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