Canada Lists IRGC as a Terrorist Organization

Iran's Foreign Ministry denounces the decision, describing it as unwise, unconventional, and politically motivated

On Wednesday, Canada listed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, urging its citizens to leave the Islamic Republic while Iran condemned the decision, downplaying its consequences.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said in a press conference, “Our government has decided to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code.”

The Canadian official, who spoke flanked by the Canadian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice, accused the Iranian regime of “supporting terrorism” and “demonstrating a continuous disregard for human rights both within Iran and beyond, as well as a willingness to destabilize the rules-based international order.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly noted that Ottawa cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2012, urging Canadians not to travel to Iran, stating, “For those currently in Iran, it is time to come home.”

The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars reported on Thursday that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani condemned Canada’s designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, describing it as an “unwise, unconventional move with political motives,” adding, “Canada’s step will have no impact on the legitimacy and deterrent power of the IRGC,” and noting that Tehran reserves the right to respond to this designation.

With this decision, Canada can freeze the assets of the organization’s members and prosecute them in court, in addition to banning all financial transactions.

Iranian expatriates and families of the victims of the Ukrainian flight PS752, which was shot down by Iran shortly after taking off from Tehran in January 2020, killing all 176 passengers, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents, have long pressured Ottawa to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

Kourosh Doustshenas, spokesperson for the families of the victims, welcomed the listing of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, describing it as “a significant step forward in seeking justice for all who fell victim to this organization.”

Canada’s blacklist includes around eighty entities, including Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, ISIS, and Boko Haram. The Quds Force, responsible for the IRGC’s foreign operations, was already listed.

This decision comes amid years of intense tension between Canada and Iran.

Like many other countries, Canada is pursuing the Islamic Republic at the International Court of Justice to hold it legally accountable for the downing of the Ukrainian Boeing in 2020.

Since the protests in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022, Ottawa has imposed a series of sanctions on Iranian organizations and officials, banning 10,000 Iranian officials from entering Canada, including members of the IRGC.

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