National post – January 27, 2010
By Stewart Bell,
A group representing victims of terrorism has asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to add Iran’s powerful militia to Canada’s list of outlawed terrorist organizations. The Canadian Coalition Against Terror sent a proposal to Mr. Harper and other senior officials last week asking them to proscribe the Iranian Revolution Guard Corps under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The 65-page document says the IRGC was “directly involved” in attacks on Canadian citizens and that its support for the Taliban was a threat to Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan. “They have earned their place along with al-Qaeda and other groups on Canada’s list of proscribed terrorist groups,” wrote CCAT, which represents victims of 9/11, the 1985 Air India bombings and other attacks. The Anti-Terrorism Act gives Ottawa the power to compile a list of terrorist “entities.” The 41 groups on the list have their assets frozen and assisting them is a crime.
The office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews declined to comment on the issue yesterday. “The government has been outspoken in its condemnation of Iran’s continued support for international terrorism, its flagrant disregard for basic human rights, and its dishonest and dangerous nuclear ambitions,” said Christine Csversko, the minister’s communications director. “We are constantly evaluating the list of terrorist entities but cannot provide comment on any potential ongoing process.”
The IRGC was formed in 1979 to protect and export the Islamic Revolution that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power. Distinct from the Iranian military, it has about 125,000 members. Recently, it has been accused of brutally cracking down on protesters opposed to the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In a press release last month, the federal Liberals also urged the Conservatives to immediately list the IRGC, which they accused of supporting the Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas.”They’re heavily involved in domestic repression of civil rights, they’ve been linked to support for a variety of different terrorist networks and covert terror-related military operations,” Mark Holland, the Liberal public safety critic, said yesterday. “So I think by any definition their activities fall under the auspices of what you would call a terror group.”
The proposal circulating in Ottawa, a copy of which was obtained by the National Post, says the IRGC controls Iran’s missile batteries and is involved in its controversial nuclear program. Listing the group would make it easier for victims to sue for compensation, it added.