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Canada Labels Iran’s Revolutionary Guards A Terrorist Organisation

Iran has condemned Canada’s terrorism tag on the IRGC, adding that the move was “unwise and unconventional.”

Canada has officially labeled Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation, responding to 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.”

The move will bar thousands of senior Iranian government officials, including top IRGC officials, from entering Canada.

The IRGC is a formidable military, political, and economic force in Iran, closely tied to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with over 190,000 active personnel and its own ground forces, navy, and air force.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, quoted by Iran’s Fars news agency, condemned the move as “unwise and unconventional.” The IRGC, through its Quds Force, extends its influence across the Middle East by providing support to allied governments and armed groups.

Previously, only the Quds Force was designated as a terrorist group by Canada. Wednesday’s announcement broadens this designation to the entire IRGC.

Minister LeBlanc emphasized that this action underscores Canada’s commitment to combatting terrorism.

“The Iranian regime has consistently displayed disregard for human rights, both inside and outside of Iran as well as a willingness to destabilize the international rules-based order,” LeBlanc stated.

The move may also lead to the investigation and removal of current and former senior Iranian government officials already in Canada. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly warned Canadians in Iran of potential risks of arbitrary detention following the announcement.

“My message is clear: for those who are in Iran right now, it’s time to come back home,” Joly said. “And for those who are planning to go to Iran, don’t go.”

In response, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani criticized Canada’s decision as a politically motivated step that would not impact the IRGC’s power.

The Canadian government, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had previously hesitated to extend the terrorism designation to the IRGC, partly due to concerns about unfairly targeting Iranians in Canada who opposed the regime but had served in the IRGC.

This was particularly sensitive after the downing of Flight PS752 by the IRGC in January 2020, which killed all 175 passengers, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

LeBlanc explained that the decision to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity followed a deliberative process based on advice from security services and foreign policy considerations.

Canada now joins the United States, which labeled the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019, in this designation. The UK has indicated intentions to follow suit but has not yet done so.

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