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Canada sanctions Iranian drone makers amid Russian strikes in Ukraine

Click to play video: 'Canada could impose more sanctions upon investigation of Russia using Iranian-made drones for attacks in Ukraine: Joly'
Canada could impose more sanctions upon investigation of Russia using Iranian-made drones for attacks in Ukraine: Joly
WATCH: Canada could impose more sanctions upon investigation of Russia using Iranian-made drones for attacks in Ukraine: Joly – Oct 18, 2022

Ottawa sanctioned two Iranian drone manufacturers on Wednesday for reportedly supplying lethal drones to Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly also announced sanctions on six individuals, including senior Iranian officials and prominent government supporters, over “gross and systematic human rights violations” inside and outside the nation. It is the fifth package of sanctions Canada has implemented against Iran this year.

“Canada is committed to standing by the people of Iran as they courageously fight for their human rights. Day by day, the situation in Iran worsens as the Iranian regime continues its crackdowns in defiance of appeals from its citizens and the international community,” Joly said in a news release.

“Canada will not hesitate to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to respond to the Iranian regime’s aggressions, whether in Iran or abroad.”

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Wednesday’s measures effectively freeze any assets the entities or individuals may hold in Canada. Individuals listed are also rendered inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The drone manufacturers sanctioned were Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries, the government said. Shahed is the maker of the Shahed-136 combat drone, which has been used by Russia in Ukrainian bombing campaigns.

Meanwhile, Qods designs and produces combat drones “used by the regime’s armed forces and designated terrorist organizations aligned with the regime, such as Hezbollah, to carry out destabilizing regional operations,” the government said.

“This firm is also involved in the development of lethal UAVs exported to Russia for use in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

Click to play video: 'Iran denies supplying Russia drones amid aerial assault on Ukraine'
Iran denies supplying Russia drones amid aerial assault on Ukraine

The individuals sanctioned Wednesday were Seyyed Yahya Safavi, chief adviser to Iran’s supreme leader on military affairs, Seyyed Hojatollah Qureishi, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) brigadier general, Saeed Aghajani, an IRGC brigadier general, and Ali Azadi, commander of law enforcement forces in Iran’s Kurdistan province.

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After denying reports it was supplying Russia with lethal drones, Iran acknowledged for the first time on Nov. 5 it had sent Moscow drones before the Feb. 24 war began. It denied continuing to supply drones to Moscow. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Iran of lying, saying Kyiv’s forces were destroying at least 10 of its drones every day.

In recent weeks, Iran has been engaged in a brutal crackdown on protesters amid nationwide protests, which first erupted over the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s so-called morality police. She was detained for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Click to play video: 'Iran schoolchildren reportedly killed for protesting'
Iran schoolchildren reportedly killed for protesting

Although the protests first focused on Iran’s mandatory headscarf, or hijab, they have since transformed into one of the greatest challenges to the ruling clerics since the chaotic years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Iranian authorities announced late last month that they will hold public trials for 1,000 people over the protests that have convulsed the country.

Read more: Canada bans senior Iranian officials with new ‘terrorism,’ rights abuse designation

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On Monday, the federal government designated Iran as a regime that has engaged in “terrorism” as well as the systematic and gross violation of human rights.

As a result, Iran’s head of state, members of its cabinet, its ambassadors and its senior diplomats are just some of the thousands of Iranians now permanently banned from entering Canada as a direct result of this designation.

Senior members of the judiciary, military, intelligence agencies and public servants are also all barred from the country — and any of the banned who are already in Canada, the government said in a news release, “may be investigated and removed.”

The sanctions are intended to signal support for women’s rights, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said on Monday, and to “fight for justice” on behalf of the families who lost loved ones on flight PS752, which was shot down in Tehran just over a thousand days ago.

— with files from Global News’ Rachel Gilmore and Reuters

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