Canada further sanctions Iranian regime for gross violations of human rights

News release

February 27, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is imposing additional sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations. This is the ninth package of sanctions imposed by Canada against the Iranian regime since October 2022.

Today’s sanctions list 12 senior officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) who have participated in gross and systematic human rights violations in Iran, including through the lethal suppression of demonstrations across Kurdish areas of Western Iran.

This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Morteza Mir Aghaei, Commander of Basij paramilitary forces in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province
  • Esmaeil Zarei Kousha, Governor of Kurdistan Province
  • Seyeh Sadegh Hosseini, IRGC General and Commander of the IRGC’s Beit al-Moqqadas Corps in Kurdistan Province
  • Rahim Jahanbakhsh, LEF Second Brigadier General and Commander of the LEF in West Azerbaijan Province

Today’s measures prohibit dealings with these listed individuals, effectively freezing any assets they may hold in Canada. Individuals listed in response to gross and systematic violations of human rights are also inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Canada will continue to coordinate with its international partners to respond to the Iranian regime’s egregious treatment of its people, its deployment of propaganda and its actions that continue to threaten international peace and stability.


“The Iranian regime continues to brutally oppress its people and to deny them their fundamental rights and freedoms. We hear the pleas of the Iranian people and we commend them for their bravery and resilience. Canada will not stop advocating for Iranians and their human rights.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • On October 7, 2022, Canada announced its intention to implement several new measures to respond to Iran’s ongoing human rights violations and the threats it poses to international peace and security, including:

    • Listing the Iranian regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its top leaders – more than 10,000 senior officials – as inadmissible to Canada for their engagement in terrorism and systemic and gross human rights violations, by enacting a designation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This is denying them access to Canadian territory.
    • adopting new sanctions against members of the IRGC and the Iranian regime as well as those associated with them, in addition to introducing a new, tailored regulation to ensure that no sanctioned individual connected to the IRGC can enter Canada, pending the passage of Bill S-8;
    • investing $76 million to strengthen Canada’s capacity to implement sanctions and ensure the government can move more quickly to freeze and seize the assets of sanctioned individuals, including through a dedicated bureau at Global Affairs Canada and additional support to the RCMP to investigate and identify assets and to gather evidence; and
    • pursuing all the tools at the Government of Canada’s disposal including the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, which enables restrictive financial and property measures to be taken against foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of human rights.
  • As of today, Canada has imposed sanctions on 139 Iranian individuals and 189 Iranian entities, including the IRGC and the regime’s security intelligence and economic apparatus.

  • In 2012, Canada designated the Islamic Republic of Iran as a supporter of terrorism under the State Immunity Act; in concert with the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, this listing allows victims to bring civil action against Iran for losses or damages from an act of terrorism with links to Iran committed anywhere in the world.

Associated links


Adrien Blanchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @CanadaFP
Like us on Facebook: Canada’s foreign policy - Global Affairs Canada

Page details

Date modified: