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The federal government must list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as “terrorist entity”, say the Council of Iranian Canadians, B’nai Brith Canada and longtime Iranian-Canadian activist Reza Banai.
“We are renewing our calls … to complete this long overdue listing process within the next 30 days,” B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn told reporters at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Monday.
“The IRGC must be listed as a terrorist group and no further delay is acceptable.”
The demand comes a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed media that Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, admitted his country “unintentionally” downed Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 with a surface-to-air missile.
Trudeau said he was “furious and outraged that families across this country are grieving the loss of their loved ones”, after the January 8 plane crash killed all 176 on board, including 57 Canadians.
The destruction of Flight 752 occurred about four hours after Iran’s bombardment of military bases in Iraq housing NATO forces ended, apparent retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of IRGC’s Quds Force.
Asked if he would now consider officially listing IRGC as a terrorist group – as Quds Force has been since 2012 – Trudeau said “these are the kinds of questions that we will have to be reflecting on in the coming days and weeks.”
Two days later in the same room and flanked by Avideh Motmaen-Far, president of the Council of Iranian Canadians and Reza Banai, chairman of the Justice 88 campaign, Mostyn said that time was now, “to recognize and confront this longstanding threat.”
“Current circumstances do not detract from what we know about the threat, and what action must be taken in response,” Mostyn said, urging the government to act on a September 2018 motion in the House of Commons that Liberal MPs supported: to list IRGC as “terrorist entity.”
In 2012, Canada cut official diplomatic ties with Iran by shuttering our embassy in Tehran and tossing Iran’s diplomatic attaché from Ottawa.
Motmaen-Far caged addressing global terrorism fomented by the Iranian regime on diplomatic terms, as a fool’s errand and lambasted U.S. President Barack Obama for inadvertently funding such activity.
“The $150 billion sent by President Obama…was used to create more horror and fund Iranian military groups in Syria to maintain the dictator of Bhashar al-Assad,” she said of the cash for JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal).
“The Iranians never saw one dollar from that money returned to the regime …this money is used to wage war everywhere by the IRGC.”
Asked if listing the IRGC as a terror group would hamper Canadian diplomatic efforts to even access Iran, investigate the crash and engage in the identification and repatriation of the deceased, Motmaen-Far bristled.
“That’s the only way to corner them (by cutting their financial means); then they will not have the power to terrorize us,” Motmaen-Far said.
“How can they make it worse than it is now?” she replied, evoking the 2003 murder of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, after her arrest in Tehran.
Banai, whose Justice 88 seeks redress secret executions carried out by the Iranian regime in 1988, described IRGC as “military organization for serving objectives of the (1979) Islamic Revolution.”
“There is no mention of Iran in the IRGC title … it was solely created to protect and expand political Islam globally, specifically (Iran’s) Shia branch,” said Banai.
“During the last four decades, the IRGC has evolved into an enormous, multi-faceted mafia organization, while acting as a shadow government with no accountability.”
B’nai Brith lawyer David Matas said the immediate benefit of an IRGC terror listing would allow for the families of Flight 752 victims to sue Iran under parameters of the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.
“For now, we can’t,” Matas explained.
“Iran, in theory, could say, ‘well this (missile attack) was committed by the IRGC but not the Quds Force’ … it’s a ridiculous defence but it’s open as far as the law is concerned.”