Canada Designates Iran’s IRGC as Terrorist Organization

Canada has officially listed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization following years of pressure from opposition legislators and members of the Iranian diaspora.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced the decision on Wednesday, describing it as a “significant tool in fighting global terrorism.” This designation will bar thousands of senior Iranian government officials, including top IRGC members, from entering Canada.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman condemned the decision, calling it an “unwise and unconventional” step. The IRGC, a powerful military, political, and economic entity in Iran, has close ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and oversees Iran’s strategic weapons. With over 190,000 active personnel, it includes its own ground forces, navy, and air force. The IRGC also exerts influence in the Middle East through its Quds Force, which was already designated as a terrorist group by Canada.

LeBlanc emphasized that this action “sends a strong message that Canada will use all of the tools at its disposal to combat the terrorist entity of the IRGC,” citing Iran’s disregard for human rights and destabilizing actions.

Following the designation, current and former senior Iranian government officials in Canada may be investigated and removed. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly warned Canadians in Iran to return home due to the risk of arbitrary detention.

In response, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani criticized Canada’s move as politically motivated and ineffective against the IRGC’s power.

This decision comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous reluctance to extend the terrorism designation to the IRGC, partly due to concerns about unfairly targeting Iranians in Canada. The change follows the IRGC’s involvement in the downing of Flight PS752 in 2020, which killed 175 passengers, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

Canada now joins the US, which labeled the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019. The UK has indicated similar intentions but has not yet made the designation.–News Desk