A bipartisan group of U.S. members of Congress is calling on Canada to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, 14 members of the House of Representatives emphasized the urgency of adding the IRGC to Canada’s terrorist list, citing Iran’s alleged involvement in the funding, training and support of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants.

Currently, Canada recognizes the Quds Force, one branch of the IRGC, as a terrorist entity but not the entire IRGC, which is the armed forces of the theocratic regime. The Quds Force is responsible for extraterritorial operations and military intelligence and reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

“The October 7, 2023, terrorist massacre by Hamas killed Israeli, American and Canadian citizens, and it was made possible by Iran and the IRGC, which have supported Canadian-designated Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas with arms, training and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for years,” the congressional members wrote.

“In both words and deeds, the IRGC as an entity is ideologically committed to destroying Israel and undermining U.S.-Canadian security interests in the Middle East and around the world,” they added.

The United States designated the IRGC, in its entirety, as a terrorist organization in 2019. Canada’s Senate passed a non-binding motion in 2018 calling on the Trudeau government to do the same, building on a similar 2018 resolution passed by the House of Commons.

“By officially designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, Canada can join the United States in once again contributing to the global fight against terrorism, demonstrating a strong commitment to ensuring peace and stability,” the bipartisan U.S. group wrote.

The Prime Minister has never fully explained why Canada has not listed the IRGC as a terrorist entity, although he has said as recently as last month that “we continue to watch and make sure we’re able to do everything we can that is responsible against the impact of the IRGC.” His office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the U.S. lawmakers.

Last year, then-justice minister David Lametti argued that military service in Iran is mandatory and that declaring the IRGC as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code could target innocent people and not just leaders of the group.

In their letter, the U.S. Representatives – nine Republicans and five Democrats – noted that they had sent a similar letter of request in May of this year to the Prime Minister.

In the May letter, the congressional members wrote that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and the IRGC is the central core of the country’s terrorist operations at home and abroad. They noted that the IRGC has openly carried out plots targeting citizens around the world for decades.

Germany is currently pursuing prosecution against IRGC-linked individuals allegedly responsible for plotting attacks against synagogues in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Last year, an Iranian diplomat was convicted on terrorism charges in Belgium for his role in a 2018 plot in Paris. In February, 2023, British authorities said they had foiled or exposed at least 15 kidnapping or assassination plots by the IRGC targeting Britain-based persons.

Canada has been using its immigration laws to deny entry to senior Iranian regime officials, including many members of the IRGC, and is investigating others in Canada for potential ties to Tehran. In November, 2022, Ottawa designated Iran a “regime that has engaged in terrorism and systematic and gross human-rights violations” under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Brandon Silver, director of policy and projects at the Montreal-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, said it’s important for Canada to take a stand against the IRGC, noting that it has a long record of murdering and maiming Canadians.

“Whether in the torture to death of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, or in their proxy Hamas murdering Canadian peace activist Vivian Silver, IRGC crimes continue with impunity,” he said.

“We cannot allow for Canada to be a safe haven for IRGC members, and for our banks and businesses to be unwittingly complicit in their crimes. The IRGC must be designated as a terror entity immediately,” he added.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has vowed to add the IRGC to Canada’s terrorist list if his party forms the next government in an election widely expected in 2025.

Source » theglobeandmail