Canada's deputy PM calls IRGC a ‘terrorist organisation’ as travel bans unveiled

Move affects about 10,000 of Iranian group's members but falls short of terrorist designation

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A top Canadian official on Friday declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organisation, as she unveiled sweeping travel sanctions on the group's members.

“The IRGC leadership are terrorists, the IRGC is a terrorist organisation,” Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will be imposing immigration restrictions on the Iranian regime.

About half of the organisation's members — some 10,000 people — “will be inadmissible to Canada forever”, he said.

“We will be pursuing a listing of the Iranian regime, including the IRGC leadership, under the most powerful provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,” Mr Trudeau said.

He added that the decision was permanent.

The US listed the IRGC as a terrorist organisation in 2019 under Donald Trump. President Joe Biden's administration has declined Tehran's request to delist the force as a condition of reviving the nuclear deal.

The Canadian government's move falls short, however, of a terrorist designation.

Instead, the government is using provisions under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Irpa) to target members of the regime and the IRGC, the CBC reported.

A majority in the Canadian Parliament passed a motion in 2018 calling on the government to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, but Mr Trudeau remains reluctant to do so, reportedly over security fears.

This week, conservative leader Pierre Poilievre urged the government again to make the designation.

Friday's sanctions come as protests in Iran approach their fourth week over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after improperly wearing her headscarf.

Human rights organisations have reported that hundreds may have been killed or injured in the protests.

On Thursday, Amnesty International accused Iranian security forces of killing at least 66 people, including children, and injuring “hundreds of others after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers during a violent crackdown” after Friday prayers in Zahedan, as well as Sistan and Baluchestan provinces.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 8:40 PM