December 9, 2022

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Trudeau slaps new sanctions on Iran’s ‘morality police’ as protests grip the country

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will levy sanctions on “dozens” of Iranian individuals and entities — including the country’s so-called “morality police” — as security forces in Iran continue to crack down violently on protesters.

Iran has been rocked by protests since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died after being detained by Iran’s morality police this month — allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly.

The demonstrations have spread to all of Iran’s 31 provinces as people take to the streets to express their anger with Iran’s theocratic government and its heavy-handed policing of what women wear.

According to Iran’s state media, at least 41 people have been killed during the protests. The state deployed live ammunition against demonstrators and has beefed up security forces in Kurdish areas of western Iran, where the protests have been concentrated.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting them: We are with you,” Trudeau said.

“We join our voices — the voices of all Canadians — to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to its people, end their repression of freedom and rights, and let women and all Iranian people live their lives and express themselves peacefully.”

Members of the Iranian community and their supporters rally in Ottawa on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022 in solidarity with protesters in Iran. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Trudeau didn’t say who exactly would be sanctioned.

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly didn’t immediately respond to a request for more information.

Since Iran shot down Flight PS752 — killing dozens of Canadians in the process — there have been calls from Opposition Conservatives and others for the federal government to take a harder line on Iran and declare the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — a paramilitary force tasked with defending the regime against internal and external threats — as a terrorist organization.

Asked about the IRGC, Trudeau said Canada “already has one of the strongest sanctions regimes in the world and we’re going to be there to do more.”

“We have sanctioned some individuals, members of the IRGC, and we’re going to keep on considering anything else we can do with regard to sanctions,” he said.

Canada has imposed an arms embargo on Iran, seized some regime-related assets, issued export and import restrictions and levied financial prohibitions to protest the destruction of PS752, Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions and the country’s many other human rights abuses.

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