• Thursday, 25 July 2024

Canada Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as Terrorist Group

Gulan Media June 20, 2024 News
Canada Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as Terrorist Group

Canada has officially listed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization, joining the United States in this designation and increasing pressure on European nations to follow suit. This move enables Canadian authorities to charge individuals who provide material or financial support to the IRGC and mandates banks to freeze assets linked to the group.

The United States previously designated the IRGC as a terrorist group in 2019. However, the UK has resisted a similar move. David Cameron, the UK Foreign Secretary, has stated that there is no demand from UK security services for such a designation, warning it would likely result in Iran severing diplomatic ties with Britain.

Labour, currently leading in polls ahead of the UK's 4 July election, has expressed intent to proscribe the IRGC, which had broad cross-party support in the previous parliament. Nonetheless, the proposal was absent from Labour’s recent manifesto, possibly reflecting internal debates within the intelligence community.

Canada's decision follows years of advocacy from its large Iranian diaspora, who have pressured for action against the IRGC, especially after the group shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in January 2020, killing 176 people, many with ties to Canada. Additionally, the IRGC has faced accusations in Canada of foreign interference, intimidation of Iranian dissidents, and planning cyber-attacks.

Previously, Canada had listed the Quds Force, the IRGC’s foreign intelligence and paramilitary wing, as a terrorist group. In October 2022, Canada barred senior IRGC leaders from entering the country and imposed sanctions on them. Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran were severed in 2010.

In a parliamentary debate, Iranian activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam emphasized the need for action, warning that IRGC activities could lead to increased political, economic, and security threats in Canada.

Iran's acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri, criticized Canada’s decision, highlighting the IRGC’s role in combating Islamic State and warning Ottawa of its responsibility for the repercussions of its actions.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc did not specify a single reason for the decision but denied it was due to political pressure. This decision comes amid Iran’s presidential election campaign following the death of Ebrahim Raisi and increasing scrutiny of Iran's economic struggles and international relations.

In December 2023, a bipartisan group of Canadian lawmakers urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group, citing its support for Hamas in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

The new designation requires financial institutions to freeze and seize accounts and properties of individuals publicly identified as IRGC members.