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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a Islamic publishers' conference in Tehran on June 20.

Vahid Salemi/The Associated Press

The Harper government is stepping up sanctions against Iran to limit its access to uranium and further restrict its nuclear program.

"If Iran goes forward and continues with its constant threat and develops its nuclear capabilities, the consequence is frightening," Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in a press conference Tuesday.

"The consequence of Iran in the Middle East having nuclear capability is something that I don't think any Canadian nor anybody in the world community wishes to see."

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His announcement comes as the Harper government prepares to play host to the world later this week at the G8 and G20 summits.

As well, the Chinese President is in Canada for a state visit in advance of the summits.

China supported the sanctions brought in earlier this month by the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Cannon said the sanctions include such issues as curbing investment abroad in terms of commercial activities that involve uranium mining. As well, Canada will not sell any parts that would enable the construction or delivery of any ballistic-missile capability, Mr. Cannon said.

Earlier this month, the UN strengthened sanctions against Iran for wanting to acquire nuclear weapons. Mr. Cannon's announcement today supports those sanctions.

"We are saying we will abide by these sanctions and we will put in place the tools and mechanisms that are required to monitor this so that we are in complete conformity with them," said the Minister.

Mr. Cannon also noted the one-year anniversary of the "disputed" election in Iran has just passed. He said it led to "appalling repression by the Iranian authorities."

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"The ongoing use of violence, intimidation and arrest of opposition members and supporters is intolerable," he said, calling on the regime to uphold its human-rights commitments, including freedom of the press, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

He also said that Iran should be encouraged to resume discussions with China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States to search for a diplomatic solution.

He called on the Iranian regime to do its "utmost" to get back to those discussions.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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