Canada needs to recognize Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, in its entirety, as a terror group

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Michael Mostyn and Avideh Motmaen-Far: It is astonishing that our government continues to remain passive in the face of one of the world’s most serious threats to peace

By Michael Mostyn and Avideh Motmaen-Far
Source: National Post
In a file photo taken in Tehran on Sept. 22, 2018, members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) march during an annual military parade marking the anniversary of the 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.AFP/Getty Images

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is not listed in its entirety as a terrorist entity by the government of Canada, despite its long record of support for acts of terror. Instead, only the Qods Force, the armed wing of the IRGC, is listed as a terrorist group.

It is of grave concern to both the grassroots Jewish and Iranian communities in Canada that only one segment of an infamous state-sponsored terrorist army is recognized as a terrorist group.

Last summer, a private member’s motion by MP Garnett Genuis received bipartisan support in the House of Commons, calling on the government of Canada to correct this omission by listing the entirety of the IRGC as a terrorist group. A similar motion was introduced in the Senate in December 2018 by Sen. Linda Frum.

It is of grave concern to both the grassroots Jewish and Iranian communities in Canada

A year has elapsed since the motion passed. The group has yet to be so designated, despite the clearly expressed will of Parliament.

A branch of Iran’s military, tasked with upholding the brutal Islamist dictatorship and supporting its terror proxies such as Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the IRGC is a quintessential example of an influential group with clear, radical and violent intentions. It also has a long history of acting on these intentions.

As leaders representing Canada’s Jewish and Iranian communities, we are passionate about supporting democracy and peace in Iran, so that its policies coincide with Canadian values and Charter rights.

This initiative is a uniting force for both Jews and Iranians, as not only does the IRGC frequently target Jews while continually threatening to eradicate Israel, it also harshly punishes and harasses Iranians who oppose the Islamist regime, and are passionate about having the right to common constitutional practices and ensuring equality is returned to Iran.

U.S. law-enforcement officials announce a major cyber law enforcement action against nine Iranians charged with conducting massive cyber theft campaigns on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on March 23, 2018. Win McNamee/Getty Images

It is astonishing that our government continues to remain passive in the face of one of the world’s most serious threats to peace and security.

After all, last June in the House of Commons, the prime minister stated, “Mr. Speaker, we deeply oppose Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program, and its support for the murderous Assad regime. We will always defend human rights and hold Iran to account for its actions.”

For many Canadians of Iranian origin, the question of terrorism and the impact it can have hits far too close to home. Ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Tehran regime has openly positioned itself as a major promoter of violence, terror and hate. Political repression, and the notorious religious police, continue to act against religious and ethnic minorities such as Baha’is and anti-regime Iranians.

Fighters with the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah party parade in front of a replica of the Dome of the Rock mosque in a southern suburb of Beirut, to mark the al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Day, on May 31, 2019. An initiative started by the late Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Quds Day is held annually to call for Jerusalem to be returned to the Palestinians. Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images

 

The current Iranian regime is the inspiration behind the infamous and disturbing al-Quds Day demonstrations and Asboora Marches that occur in major cities worldwide. The IRGC supports these demonstrations, which demonize Israel and incite hatred towards Jews and other religions.

We are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. The Iranian regime, along with Hezbollah, were the masterminds and executioners of this horrific attack against the Argentinian Jewish community. It was largely because of the efforts of B’nai Brith that the entirety of Hezbollah was listed as a recognized terror group in Canada in 2002. It should be noted that there is an Interpol Red Notice from Argentina against the former defence minister of Iran, Ahmad Vahidi, the commander of the Qods Force at the time of the bombing for his supposed involvement with this tragedy.

Firefighters search for victims after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires on July 18,1994, killing 85 people and injuring about 300 others in the worst attack of its kind in the South American country. Ali Burafi/AFP/Getty Images

The entire IRGC should be listed promptly. It makes little sense to ban only the “military wing” of a terrorist organization, whether Hezbollah or the IRGC. The United Kingdom recently acknowledged this by banning Hezbollah in its entirety after previously exempting its “political wing.” In April, the United States officially listed the IRGC as a terrorist group, an act that B’nai Brith Canada as well as many Iranian-Canadians lauded as an example for the Canadian government to follow. Despite the passing of Mr. Genuis’ private member’s motion last year, bureaucratic measures have delayed any action from being taken here at home.

In 2012, diplomatic relations were severed between Canada and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This was necessary to ensure that Canada does not deal with a brutal regime that threatens world peace and poses a risk to many Canadians. That was an important but only partial step. We will continue to press the government of Canada until the final decision to list the entire IRGC as a terror group is made. The safety of our communities — and all Canadians — depends on it.

— Michael Mostyn is the chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada and Avideh Motmaen-Far is the president of the Council of Iranian Canadians. The authors would like to thank Iranian-Canadian representatives Reza Banai, Afshin Afshin-Jam and Nazanin Afshin-Jam McKay for their assistance with this article.

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