Canada jumped on the sanctions bandwagon this week, restricting Iran’s access to nuclear material and military equipment, shutting down ties to financial institutions, and barring Canadians from doing business with bad guys like the Revolutionary Guard.
The new measures, in accordance with those passed by the U.N. earlier this month, are designed to keep Iran from expanding its nuclear technology and enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.
Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is widely suspected of building the bomb. Iran denies the allegations, insisting its nuclear program is strictly engineered for the peaceful production of medical isotopes.
Suspicion over an Iranian nuke stems from the country’s repeated ouster of international inspectors, lack of cooperation on IAEA investigations, and intelligence reports that suggest hidden nuclear weapons tests.
Unless Iran plays ball, Canada warns that future sanctions are on the table.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters in Ottawa, "In the absence of a positive response from Iran, Canada stands ready to implement additional sanctions to address Iran's egregious violations and continued threat to global peace."
The new Canadian sanctions come just days after the European Union and United States announced separate, unilateral measures against Iran. The E.U. and U.S. sanctions, in addition to those passed by the United Nations, bring the hammer down on Tehran; but that doesn't mean the country will stop enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out against the U.N. sanctions, telling state-run television that the sanctions “should be thrown into the trash bin like a used tissue."
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs said the E.U. sanctions, "will in no way affect the Iranian government and people's determination to seek their legitimate right to exploit nuclear technology under the supervision of the IAEA."
If effective, the new sanctions will cripple Iranian businesses that bolster proliferation. If the measures don’t work, other options to scale back Iranian nukes remain on the table.
Israel is willing to engage the situation militarily if Iran fails to reduce its nuclear ambitions. A military strike would not only be catastrophic for Iranian civilians and peace efforts at large in the Middle East, it could also fold the entire region, if not the world, into war.