Canada takes action against Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

Canada has officially designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, following years of pressure from various groups, including opposition legislators and some members of the Iranian diaspora. This move announced by Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc represents a significant step towards combating global terrorism. The IRGC, a powerful military, political, and economic force in Iran with close ties to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, now faces severe restrictions in Canada. It is estimated that the IRGC has over 190,000 active personnel, including ground forces, navy, and air force responsible for managing Iran’s strategic weapons. Beyond its domestic influence, the IRGC extends its reach to the Middle East by providing support to allied governments and armed groups through its Quds (Jerusalem) Force. This overseas operations arm has been previously labeled as a terrorist group, and now, the designation has been expanded to cover the entire IRGC.

The decision to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity sends a clear message that Canada is committed to leveraging all available tools to combat terrorism. Minister LeBlanc emphasized that the Iranian regime has consistently shown a disregard for human rights, both within Iran and internationally, and has worked to destabilize the global rules-based order. With this designation, the Canadian government can investigate and potentially remove current and former senior Iranian officials residing in the country. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has cautioned Canadians in Iran about the risk of arbitrary detention, urging them to return home and advising against travel to Iran.

The decision comes after significant deliberation, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration initially hesitating to extend the terrorism designation to the IRGC due to concerns about its impact on Iranian Canadians. However, pressure mounted following the tragic incident in January 2020 when Flight PS752 was mistakenly shot down in Tehran by the IRGC, resulting in the loss of 175 lives, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Now, with the terror designation in place, individuals linked to the IRGC may face increased scrutiny.

Canada’s move aligns it with the United States, which listed the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019. The UK has also indicated a similar intention, though it has yet to follow through. By taking this step, Canada demonstrates its commitment to countering global terrorism and holding entities accountable for their actions.