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Canada sanctions Iranian makers of attack drones used by Russia in Ukraine

Foreign Minister Joly says Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries are key to Tehran’s ‘activities aimed at destabilizing international peace and security’

A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

OTTAWA, Canada — Canada on Wednesday targeted Iranian makers of drones that Kyiv and the West say have been used by Russia to attack Ukraine in a rollout of new sanctions against the Islamic republic.

The two companies — Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries — “are key to the regime’s ongoing activities aimed at destabilizing international peace and security,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement.

This has included, she said, “the sale of weapons and the provision of Iranian military personnel to train and assist Russian forces on the use of Iranian weapons.”

The chief military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the head of its UAV Command were also hit with the Canadian sanctions.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones in recent weeks to carry out attacks.

Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries are alleged to have produced the lethal combat drones used by Russia, including in attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly attends a news conference at the US State Department in Washington, September 30, 2022. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Iran has admitted that it sent drones to Russia, but insisted they were supplied to its ally before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Britain and the European Union have already imposed sanctions on Iranian officials and arms firms over the drones shipments.

Earlier this week, Ottawa also permanently banned thousands of Iranian officials from Canada over what Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino described as “gross human rights violations and terrorism.”

“This is a regime that has killed its own citizens. This is a regime that has also killed our citizens,” Mendicino said on Monday in reference to Tehran’s deadly crackdown on protests and its downing of flight PS752 in January 2020.

A missile strike on the commercial jetliner left 176 dead, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

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