Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland have spoken in harsh terms about Iran’s governing regime including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“The Iranian regime continues to demonstrate its blatant disregard for human rights and human life,” Trudeau said in a press release.
“The IRGC leadership are terrorists,” Freeland said. “The IRGC is a terrorist organization. Today, Canada is formally recognizing that – and acting accordingly.”
But that was three months ago, and while Canada enacted some strict measures to sanction the regime and the IRGC on Oct. 7 2022, Trudeau’s government has not taken the next arguably most important step: Declaring the IRGC a terrorist organization under the Criminal Code of Canada.
That’s according to Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl and some advocates for victims of terrorism.
“The time for empty words and hollow announcements is over,” Strahl told The Progress this week. “It’s time for the Trudeau government to take action to support the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and list the IRGC as a terrorist entity.”
Following the protests in Iran since Mahsa Amini was killed for wearing her headscarf imperfectly, the Conservative opposition has pushed the government to take this next step.
“The murder of Mahsa Amini adds to the long list of violations of human rights committed by the Iranian regime.
“The IRGC is part of this regime and is instrumental to its continued existence. The IRGC has terrorized the people of Iran for decades and has openly declared support for other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas – both listed in Canada as terrorist entities.”
The chief executive of an organization founded after 9/11 by families and friends of Canadian victims of those terrorist attacks agrees.
“The IRGC is a multi-billion-dollar economic empire and one of the globe’s foremost facilitators of international terrorism,” Sheryl Saperia with the Canadian Coalition Against Terror (C-CAT) told The Progress this week. “Moreover, the IRGC’s actions fit all the legal criteria for a terror listing.”
My @CanStopTerror colleagues and I have done extensive research: the IRGC is a multi-billion-dollar economic empire and one of the globe’s foremost facilitators of international terrorism. Moreover, the IRGC’s actions fit all the legal criteria for a terror listing. 3/— Sheryl Saperia (@sherylsap) January 17, 2023
Saperia called it “disappointing” that the Trudeau government has not taken that next step after the October press conference where they described the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
“(T)hey have refused to take their statement to its logical policy conclusion – listing the IRGC as a terrorist organization under Canada’s Criminal Code.
“This seems to demonstrate an absence of political will on the part of the Trudeau government to hold the Iranian regime to account, to support the PS752 victims, and to protect Iranian-Canadians who fear regime officials will harm them.”
Flight PS752 was the Ukraine International flight shot down by Iranian officials shortly after take-off from Tehran in January 2020.
So far the United States is the only country to have listed the IRGC as a terrorist organization under its criminal code, according to Saperia.
“But most Western countries are contemplating the move and diaspora Iranian communities are asking for it. Canada should be a leader,” she said. “The UK and Australia would almost certainly follow our lead.”
Strahl reiterated that his party stands with the people of Iran in their fight for freedom and Canada needs to step up.
“It’s time for the Trudeau government to do the same and list the IRGC as a terrorist entity.”
Iranian-Canadian Ghazaleh Nozamani who was tortured by the regime in Iran and now lives in Yarrow, also wonders why Trudeau’s government has not put the IRGC on the terrorism list.
“How does he expect me or anyone else to feel safe in our activities when the IRGC has an active centre and related people in Canada? How does he intend to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from using Canada for money laundering? How can he keep Canada safe, not just for Iranians but for everyone?”
Nozamani added that she has contacted Strahl to ask if he will join the campaign of federal MPs sponsoring Iranian detainees to help stem the executions, but he has not responded.
The Progress reached out to the PMO to comment on this story and received a response from the office of the Minister of Public Safety reiterating the moves made by the government in October 2022.
“Last year, Canada imposed one of its strongest sanctions by officially designating the Islamic Republic of Iran as a regime that has engaged in terrorism and systematic and gross human rights violations,” according to the statement by press secretary Audrey Champoux. “This means that tens of thousands of senior members of the Iranian regime, including many members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, are now inadmissible to Canada. In addition to being banned from entering Canada, current and former senior officials present here may be investigated and removed from the country. This is a powerful tool that has only been used a handful of times in our history, and reflects the gravity of Iran’s brutal behavior. This designation is one element of the government’s broader efforts to hold the Iranian regime and IRGC accountable for their crimes.”
Champoux also forwarded a link to a government website outlining the process for listing an entity as a terrorist organization under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
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