Canada to investigate former senior Iranian officials in the country


Canada is listing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization and could investigate former senior Iranian officials living in the country, a senior cabinet member said on Wednesday.

“Canada will use all possible tools to combat terrorist activities carried out by the IRGC,” Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc told reporters, saying the announcement reflected “very strong and compelling evidence.”

The United States took a similar step in April 2019.

Opposition legislators have long demanded the IRGC be listed, but the Liberal government had declined, saying to do so risked unintended consequences.

Investigating Iranian officials 

LeBlanc, asked why they action took so long, said the decision had been taken based on the law and advice from security services, not as a result of political pressure.

Canada already lists the IRGC’s overseas arm, the Quds Force, as a terrorist group. Ottawa broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2012.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 29, 2024 (credit: REUTERS/BLAIR GABLE)

The IRGC, a powerful faction that controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces in Iran, has been accused by Western nations of carrying out a global terrorist campaign. Iran rejects that.

“Current and former senior Iranian government officials who are in Canada may be investigated and removed,” LeBlanc said. He did not give details on the identities and number of people this might include.

Once a group is placed on the terror list, police can charge anyone who financially or materially supports the group and banks can freeze assets. In October 2022, Canada said it would ban the IRGC’s top leadership from entering the country and promised more targeted sanctions.

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