Canada proscribes IRGC as terror group

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the Iranian regime had shown a ‘willingness to destabilise’ the international order


The Iranian government condemned Canada's move as 'an unwise and unconventional politically-motivated step' (Photo: Hossein Beris//AFP via Getty Images)

Canada has proscribed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terror group.

Announcing the news, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said outlawing the Iranian military organisation would send a “strong message that Canada will use all of the tools at its disposal to combat the terrorist entity of the IRGC".

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

The IRGC, which was founded in the wake of Iran’s Islamic revolution, has funded Shia militias and terror plots around the world.

The Board of Deputies, which has long campaigned for proscription in the UK, said they welcomed Canada’s to proscribe the powerful military body.

"The IRGC is the primary sponsor of an international terror network including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis,” they wrote in a statement.

"Whichever party forms the next Government here in the UK has an urgent responsibility to follow the US and Canada's example, and proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist group.”

While the British government has come under increasing pressure to outlaw the IRGC in Britain amid growing evidence that the Corps has organised terror plots in the UK, it has so far declined to do so.

Last year, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said that Labour would introduce legislation to ban state-sponsored organisations including the IRGC.

While the party’s manifesto does not explicitly commit to banning the group, it does state: “From the Skripal poisonings to assassination plots by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threats from hostile states or state-sponsored groups are on the rise, but Britain lacks a comprehensive framework to protect us.

"Labour will take the approach used for dealing with non-state terrorism and adapt it to deal with state-based domestic security threats.”

LeBlanc said Canada’s decision to ban the IRGC came on the advice of security services after considering its foreign policy consequences.

“It is a threshold that must be met under the criminal code of Canada,” he said.

Melanie Joly, Canada's foreign affairs minister, said Canadian citizens in Iran should leave and those who are planning to go should reconsider.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanaani, condemned the ban as "an unwise and unconventional politically-motivated step".

"Canada's action will not have any effect on the Revolutionary Guards' legitimate and deterrent power," he claimed.

Canada’s ban comes in the wake of the Iranian government shooting down Flight PS752, which took off from Tehran bound for Kyiv in 2020.

All 176 passengers and crew on board were killed, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents. 

Kourosh Doustshenas, speaking on behalf of the families of victims, said proscription was “a huge step forward” in the search for justice for everyone who has been a victim of the IRGC.

Ottawa previously outlawed the Quds Force, the foreign services wing of the IRGC, and in 2022 permanently denied entry to more than 10,000 Iranian officials.

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