Canada’s Designation of the IRGC as a Terrorist Organization


In recent developments, Canada has made the significant decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, sparking some ripple effects on Iran and relations between Iran and the West, particularly Canada. The latter’s decision to list the IRGC as a terrorist group follows a similar move by the United States. This decision puts pressure on European governments to consider the same designation. The listing allows police to charge individuals supporting the IRGC and requires the freezing of assets linked to the organization.

The decision to label the IRGC as a terrorist organization is rooted in several key reasons. First and foremost, Canada cited the IRGC’s close ties to groups that Canada designates as terrorist outfits such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as its involvement in activities that undermine human rights and international security. The downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in January 2020, a tragic incident that claimed the lives of 176 individuals, including Canadian citizens, further amplified calls for the IRGC’s designation. This act was attributed to the IRGC, leading to increased pressure on the Canadian government to act against the organization.

Moreover, Canada’s move is seen as a demonstration of its commitment to combatting global terrorism and holding accountable those responsible for perpetrating terrorist activities. By designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, Canada aims to disrupt the group’s operations and prevent the flow of funds that support its illicit activities, thereby contributing to international efforts to enhance security and stability.

Unsurprisingly, Iran vehemently condemned Canada’s decision to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Tehran characterized the designation as a politically motivated and hostile act, designed to exert pressure on the Iranian government and undermine its standing on the international stage. Iran’s Foreign Ministry criticized the move as irresponsible and warned of potential retaliatory measures in response to what it viewed as an unwarranted and provocative action by the Canadian government.

Iran characterized this move as “hostile” and “irresponsible,”  highlighting the strained relations between the two countries. IRGC members are now barred from entering Canada, and any dealings with them are prohibited, potentially leading to asset seizures.

Canada’s designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization has some implications for Iran’s relationship with the West. The IRGC’s designation not only intensifies existing diplomatic tensions between Iran and Western countries but also complicates efforts to foster constructive dialogue and engagement in areas of mutual interest. The move by Canada may prompt other Western nations to reevaluate their stance toward Iran and consider similar actions against the IRGC, potentially deepening the isolation of the Iranian government on the international stage.

While the practical implications of Canada’s designation may be limited due to existing restrictions on IRGC members entering the country, the symbolic effect is significant. The decision aligns Canada with other countries that have designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization and reflects the concerns of the Iranian-Canadian community. Furthermore, the designation of the IRGC by Canada could impact regional dynamics in the Middle East, where Iran plays a significant role in shaping geopolitical outcomes.

The decision to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government may also be driven by internal political motives. The Canadian government has been accused of adopting weak positions on national security, hence the IRGC designation could be perceived as a strategic decision to bolster its national security credentials and project strength in the face of global threats. The move could also resonate with certain segments of the Canadian population, including Iranian-Canadians and those advocating for stronger measures against state-sponsored terrorism, potentially influencing public opinion and political dynamics within the country.

Overall, the IRGC’s involvement in supporting allied governments and armed groups through overseas operations, including the Quds Force’s activities, has raised alarm bells globally. Canada’s move, which must have been coordinated with the United States and other Western allies, sends a strong message against Iran and the IRGC’s activities that threaten regional stability. In terms of the relationship between Iran and the West, Canada’s decision to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization adds another layer of complexity to the already strained ties. With no formal diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran since 2012, this latest development further widens the gap.

Editorial Team