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Trudeau Plans to Ban the Entry of Iranian regime in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is taking steps to prevent senior members of the Iranian regime — including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — from entering Canada.

Trudeau said the move would affect the top 50 percent of the IRGC — roughly 10,000 members — and would be permanent.

“We are using the most powerful tools at our disposal to take action against this brutal regime,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Friday.

The move comes after weeks of pressure on the government from opposition MPs and advocates to add the IRGC to Canada’s terrorist list.

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What the government announced does not meet the IRGC’s listing as a terrorist entity under the criminal code. Instead, the government is using provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to target members of the regime and the IRGC.

In 2018, members of parliament passed a motion calling on the government to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Four years later, it still hasn’t – although the Guardian’s Quds paramilitary force is already on the list.

Earlier this week, the government imposed sanctions on 34 Iranians and Iranian entities, including members of the IRGC and Iran’s Morality Police.

Trudeau said Friday that the government would expand those sanctions, allocating $76 million to strengthen the government’s ability to seize and freeze the assets of sanctioned entities and establish a new sanctions office at Global Affairs Canada.

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In recent weeks, the conservative opposition has been stepping up pressure on the government to add the IRGC to the list. Conservative MPs have raised the issue in almost every question period since parliament returned last month.

The PS752 Victims’ Families Association also called on Ottawa to add the IRGC to its list of terrorist organizations in response to its role in the destruction of a civilian airliner two years ago.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland insisted on Friday that by taking the steps it did, the federal government was recognizing the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

“The IRGC is a terrorist organization. Today, by including the IRGC in the IRPA and indeed including the broader leadership of the Iranian regime, we formally recognize that fact and act accordingly,” she said.

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Asked why the government had not actually added the IRGC to the list of terrorist entities under the criminal code, Trudeau did not rule out doing so in the future.

“We have looked very, very carefully at all the potential tools and we are not taking any other tools off the table,” he said, noting that the IRPA was used against individuals in Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s.

Designation of an organization as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code can have serious criminal and financial consequences. Section 83 of the code makes it an offense to “accumulate property… provide or solicit a person to provide or make available property or financial or other related services” to a terrorist entity.

The designation also allows banks to freeze assets and allows police to charge those who financially or materially support such a group.

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Iranian-Canadian lawyer and human rights activist Kaveh Shahrooz said Friday’s announcement was “not overwhelming.”

“Making 10,000 members of the IRGC inadmissible to Canada is good, but it doesn’t go far enough and I don’t think it acknowledges the sheer monstrosity of this organization,” Shahrooz said.

But University of Ottawa professor Thomas Juneau, who studies Iranian politics, said Friday’s announcement is likely to have a much bigger impact than adding the IRGC to the terrorist list — if the government can push through the measure.

Specifically, Juneau said the measures could prevent the Iranian government from laundering money in Canada and thwart its efforts to persecute Iranian Canadians.

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“In theory, Friday’s announcement contains useful tools to try to counter these activities. In practice, the proof will be in the pudding,” Juneau said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The House that aired Saturday.

Juneau also argued that adding the IRGC to the terrorist list would be difficult to enforce and could have unintended effects, such as preventing Iranian Canadians from sending money home to their families.

Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino’s office previously said adding the organization to the terrorist list was not up to politicians.

“Determining whether a group constitutes a terrorist entity is a careful, non-political process conducted by Canada’s national security agencies,” spokesman Alexander Cohen said in an email to The Canadian Press in September.

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“These agencies are constantly working to identify and evaluate entities that may meet the threshold for listing.”

Former Canadian Security Intelligence Service officer Jessica Davis told the CBC that adding the IRGC to the list would be a difficult process.

“This is a technocratic process in which the RCMP and CSIS produce intelligence reports that recommend to the minister whether the group should be listed,” she said, adding that it was unclear whether the IRGC would meet the threshold used by those. government bodies.

Shahrooz agreed that adding the IRGC to the list would not be an easy process. He said it should still be monitored.

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Davis questioned the government’s ability to enforce the IRPA measures announced today. She called claims that the government had sufficient information about 10,000 IRGC members “far-fetched”.

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