A Canadian Proposal for Banning the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Terrorist Entity
1. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
- Iran is the globe’s most egregious state sponsor of terrorism. The regime allocates approximately $16 billion annually to support terrorism.[i] The IRGC is responsible for executing the regime’s terrorist exploits. The IRGC, in its entirety and from its inception, has supported and directly committed acts constituting “terrorist activity” under Canadian law. The budget of the IRGC is $8.2 billion[ii] with billions more from the IRGC’s empire of licit and illicit business enterprises and industries including narcotics smuggling.[iii]The IRGC controls an expansive criminal, financial, and industrial empire accounting for between 20 to 40 percent of the Iranian gross domestic product by most estimates.[iv]
- Mohsen Sazegara, a founder of the IRGC, and now an Iranian dissident and a fellow at Harvard University, echoes many other experts in stating he doesn’t know “of any other organization in any country like the Revolutionary Guards.” Sazegara describes it as “something like the Communist Party, the KGB, a business complex and the mafia[v] … a kind of a government inside the government of Iran,” that doesn’t “answer to anybody.”[vi]
- The IRGC is also directly complicit in the slaughter of half a million Syrians by the Assad Regime; has coordinated the assassination of Iranian dissidents abroad; has overseen the brutal repression of the Iranian people; and is responsible for the imprisonment or torture or death of Canadian citizens.
2. June 12, 2018 – Parliament Passes Motion to List the IRGC in its Entirety
Over the years there has been support for listing the IRGC from both Liberal and Conservative MPs. On June 12, 2018, Parliament passed a motion stipulating that Canada “immediately designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a listed terrorist entity under the Criminal Code of Canada”.[vii]Shortly thereafter, Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale confirmed that the process has been initiated.”[viii]
3. No Legal Obstacle to Listing the IRGC under Canadian Law
The Criminal Code empowers the Governor in Council to create a list of entities that are treated as terrorist groups. The IRGC may be considered an “entity” for these purposes.
4. Listing the IRGC is Consistent with Canadian Policy on Terrorism
Listing the IRGC in its entirety is broadly consistent with: the foreign policy and human rights objectives of the current government and the official opposition; the existing IRGC sanctions regimes under the current Liberal government and its Conservative predecessor; the approach taken by both the current government and its predecessor in listing other terrorist entities; and with the recent findings of the Canadian courts.
[iii] https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/04/08/the-revolutionary-guards-disinformation-campaign-to-dominate-irans-economy/; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/irans-elite-guard-runs-global-crime-network-pushing-heroin-to-west-nd9bjv3xxrz
Iran’s interior minister recently declared that the value of narcotic drug sales in Iran is $3 billion per year, not including commission from transporting the drugs from Afghanistan to other transit points, like the Balkans. The US Department of the Treasury has placed Quds Force Commander Esmail Baghbani on the US sanctions list for his role in drug trafficking. The IRGC also has close ties with the drug cartels in the South and Central America through Hezbollah.
[v] Quoted in “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards”, Council on Foreign Relations, by Greg Bruno, June 22, 2009.
[vi] 145 “Revolutionary Guard Wields Power Inside and Outside Iran”, by Gary Thomas, Voice of America, April 17, 2007, http://www.sazegara.net/english/archives/news-links/; Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Branches Out”, by Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2007, reprinted in the Seattle Times, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003855126_iranguard27.html.; “The Evolution of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard”
by Renee Montagne, NPR, April 5, 2007; http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9371072.