A media advisory was sent to Canadian journalists at the end of last month. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon was to appear before cameras and make an unspecified but important announcement. A day later Mr. Cannon—surrounded by cameras and print journalists—took what experts call "a free kick at Iran," announcing new sanctions on a country that Canada actually has little to do with.

The sanctions, among others, ban the export of proliferation-sensitive goods and also prohibit any new investment in Iran's oil and gas sector. The new measures bar Iranian financial institutions from establishing a presence in Canada, and vice versa,...

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