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Canada Lifts Most Economic Sanctions Against Iran

Canada lifted most economic sanctions against Tehran on February 5 to allow Canadian firms to start competing for Iran's business.

Ottawa, which was not a party to Iran's nuclear deal with world powers but has praised the deal, said it would maintain restrictions only on nuclear technology exports and sales related to ballistic-missile development.

"Canadian companies will now be able to position themselves for new trade opportunities, but we will also maintain rigorous controls on any exports that raise serious proliferation concerns," Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Ottawa has also offered to restore diplomatic relations with Tehran, which were severed in 2012.

At the time, the previous conservative government criticized the Islamic republic's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, its "incitement to genocide" against Israel, and its leaders' failure to account for their nuclear program.

Ties were also strained by Tehran's jailing of Iranian-born Canadians.

In 2013, Ottawa imposed a near-total trade embargo on Iran that included economic sanctions and travel restrictions. Canada's exports to Iran fell to $48 million in 2014 from a peak of $556 million in 1997.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP