On October 18, 2023, Canada announced further amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations (the “Regulations”) that came into effect on the same day. The amendments incorporate prohibitions that are set to expire under theUnited Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (the “UNSCR 2231”) that are applicable to certain Iranian individuals and entities. The UNSCR 2231 was adopted in 2015 to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the “JCPOA”) which contains measures to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programs remain peaceful. The expiration of the restrictions under the JCPOA will lift certain weapons prohibitions and sanctions against individuals and entities associated with Iran’s nuclear program.

Canada – in coordination with the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States – is renewing the JCPOA restrictions and sanctions under Canada’s Regulations. As of the most recent amendments, Canada has sanctioned 194 Iranian individuals and 248 Iranian entities. Canada’s stated reasons for renewing these restrictions is due to persisting concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. Canada and its allies plan to continue to “impose pressure on the Iranian regime for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as its proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles”. The sanctions also target former and current senior officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated entities.

Schedule 1 of the Regulations imposes a dealings prohibition against the individuals and entities listed, effectively freezing any assets they hold in Canada. Individuals listed are also rendered inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. For more information on the dealings prohibition, read our previous blog post on Canada’s June 2023 Iran sanctions here.

The amendments to the Regulations also impose on persons in Canada or Canadians outside of Canada prohibitions regarding:

  • The export to Iran of:
    • items, material, equipment, goods and technology related to goods listed in the Missile Technology Control Regime;
    • battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircrafts, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems as defined in the United Nations Register of Conventional Weapons;
  • The provision to any person in Iran of technical assistance, financial or related services related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of the products subject to the export prohibitions;
  • Making available to any person in Iran any property, financial assistance or investment related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of the products subject to the export prohibitions;
  • Providing any technology to Iran in respect of any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons;
  • The acquisition and import from Iran of arms and related material.

Businesses should continually assess their sanctions compliance in this shifting legal landscape. Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act obligate persons in Canada and Canadian citizens to disclose certain property owned or controlled by Schedule 1 entities and any related transactional information to the RCMP. Additionally, certain entities have a continuing duty to determine and disclose certain property owned, held or controlled by Schedule 1 entities.

An unofficial copy of the legislative amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations that came into effect on October 18, 2023 are available on Global Affairs Canada’s website here.


Julia Webster is a disputes and international trade lawyer. She advises companies on trade remedies, free trade agreements, blocking measures, customs compliance, anti-corruption laws, economic sanctions, AML compliance, supply chain ethics, and cross-border M&A.