Canada Declares Iran's Revolutionary Guard a Terror Entity

In a significant move, Canada has officially designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, following longstanding calls for such action.

Published June 21, 2024 - 00:06am

3 minutes read
Iran, Islamic Republic of

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Canada has officially designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, aligning itself with similar actions taken by the United States and responding to years of advocacy from various groups. The announcement was made by Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who cited 'strong and compelling evidence' as the basis for this decision.

This bold step enables Canada to freeze the assets of individuals associated with the IRGC and prosecute them under the country's criminal laws, in addition to banning any financial transactions with the entity. The decision comes amidst ongoing tensions between the two nations, who have not had diplomatic relations since 2012. The move was widely welcomed by Iranian expatriates and families of the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, which was downed by the IRGC in 2020.

Canada's actions mirror those of the United States, which first designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019. The IRGC had already been subject to various U.S. Treasury Department sanctions since 2007 for roles in nuclear proliferation and human rights abuses. The organization, founded in 1979, has evolved into a formidable political and economic force within Iran, exerting significant influence over key industries such as oil and gas.

The IRGC's designation as a terrorist entity places it alongside groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Boko Haram on Canada's terror list. This designation opens pathways for law enforcement to take action against individuals or groups in Canada that support the IRGC, whether financially or materially.

Minister LeBlanc, alongside Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and Justice Minister David Lametti, underscored the IRGC's role in destabilizing the international order. 'This entity supports terrorism and continuously shows disregard for human rights both within and outside Iran,' said LeBlanc. Joly emphasized the imperative for Canadians to avoid traveling to Iran and urged those currently in the country to return home.

Advocacy for this designation intensified following the 2020 downing of Flight PS752, which resulted in the deaths of 176 individuals, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Trudeau's government faced numerous calls from the victims' families and Iranian-Canadian communities to recognize the IRGC as a terrorist group. The grieving families viewed this step as crucial for attaining justice and holding the perpetrators accountable.

The IRGC commands an extensive network of militias and proxies across the Middle East, influencing armed groups in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Through these connections, Iran's influence has extended beyond its borders, often clashing with U.S. and allied interests in the region. The U.S. Department of State has attributed the deaths of numerous American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi citizens to groups affiliated with the IRGC.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously expressed reservations about the unintended consequences of such a designation. However, recent developments, including the continuous lobbying from PS752 victims' families and Iranian-Canadian activists, have pressured the government to take decisive action.


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