Late Iranian PM Ebrahim Raisi inspecting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps 

Ottawa: Canada on Wednesday (local time) listed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code after years of mounting pressure. Canada's Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, Dominic LeBlanc announced the decision.

In a press release, the Canadian government said, "Based on their actions, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the IRGC has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity, or has knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with an entity that has knowingly carried out terrorist activity. Listing the IRGC means that they are a terrorist group."

It said that the decision to designate the IRGC through the Criminal Code listing regime sends a strong message that Canada will use all tools at its disposal to combat the terrorist activity of the IRGC, "conducted both unilaterally and in knowing association with listed terrorist entities such as Hizballah and Hamas."

In a press release, the Canadian government said, "As a now-listed entity, the IRGC meets the definition of a "terrorist group" under Canada's Criminal Code. As an immediate consequence of this listing, Canadian financial institutions, such as banks and brokerages, are required to immediately freeze the property of a listed entity. It is a criminal offence for anyone in Canada and Canadians abroad to knowingly deal with property owned or controlled by a terrorist group."

In a statement, Dominic LeBlanc said that the Iranian regime has demonstrated a complete disregard for human rights, both inside and outside Iran.

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

"Listing the IRGC builds on the Government of Canada's broader efforts to ensure that there is no impunity for Iran's unlawful actions and its support of terrorism. Our government will always promote human rights and take action against those seeking to disrupt our way of life, here in Canada and around the world," he added.

This latest development comes after years of pressure on the federal government to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity. According to a CBC News report, the IRGC is a branch of the Iranian armed forces that reports directly to Iran's supreme leader.

Earlier in 2020, the IRGC shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 above the skies of Tehran, claiming the lives of 175 passengers, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents, CBC News reported.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, Melanie Joly, warned that Canadians in Iran might face a heightened risk of arbitrary detention after the announcement on Wednesday.

Joly said, "For those who are in Iran right now, it's time to come back home. And for those who are planning to go to Iran, don't go."

The association representing family members of Flight PS752 victims, members of the Iranian Canadian community, the Conservative Party and the NDP have urged the Canadian government to designate the entire militia group as a terrorist entity, according to CBC News report.

Hamed Esmaeilion, a board member with the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, said the families were happy to know that the government is moving forward with this designation after they had raised the demand for it at every rally and event they held over the past four years.

Esmaeilion, who lost his wife and daughter on Flight PS752, said, "It has been a long journey. Long and painful." Esmaeilion further said, "It's very important to punish those people or those organisations that were involved in atrocities against Canadians and Iranians."

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said his party has been urging the government to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation for six years. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre reiterated his demand to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

On January 8, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau told victims' families at a ceremony on the fourth anniversary of the destruction of the plane that his government was looking at ways to "responsibly" move forward with that designation, CBC News reported.

He had said, "We know there is more to do to hold the regime to account and we will continue our work, including continuing to look for ways to responsibly list the IRGC as a terrorist organisation. His remarks came after the government for years explained its decision to not designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed