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Time for IRGC to be Listed as Terrorist Group

In a file photo taken in Tehran on Sept. 22, 2018, members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) march during an annual military parade marking the anniversary of the 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. AFP/Getty Images

June 28, 2019

By Jakob Glogauer and Marty York
B’nai Brith Canada

It has been a productive and rewarding week for B’nai Brith Canada and human rights in our country.

As you undoubtedly are aware, the federal government announced its intention to adopt the International Holocaust Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitsm was one of our key recommendations to all levels of government, as part of our Eight-Point Plan to Tackle Antisemitism, outlined in our most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.

In addition to attending the government’s official announcement of its plans to adopt the IHRA definition, B’nai Brith Canada was featured on a panel discussion on Breakfast Television regarding fighting hate in all forms across Canada. We also were interviewed on CityNews’ Fighting Hate series.

And in an op-ed published in the National Post this week, B’nai Brith Canada and leaders of the Iranian-Canadian community proudly and jointly called on the Government of Canada to immediately list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group.

“It is of grave concern to both the grassroots Jewish and Iranian communities in Canada that only one segment of an infamous state-sponsored terrorist army is recognized as a terrorist group,” said the editorial, co-written by Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada CEO, and Avideh Motmaen-Far, President of the Council of Iranian Canadians.

Below is the text of the aforementioned op-ed in the National Post:

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is not listed in its entirety as a terrorist entity by the government of Canada, despite its long record of support for acts of terror. Instead, only the Qods Force, the armed wing of the IRGC, is listed as a terrorist group.

It is of grave concern to both the grassroots Jewish and Iranian communities in Canada that only one segment of an infamous state-sponsored terrorist army is recognized as a terrorist group.

Last summer, a private member’s motion by MP Garnett Genuis received bipartisan support in the House of Commons, calling on the government of Canada to correct this omission by listing the entirety of the IRGC as a terrorist group. A similar motion was introduced in the Senate in December 2018 by Sen. Linda Frum.

A year has elapsed since the motion passed. The group has yet to be so designated, despite the clearly expressed will of Parliament.

A branch of Iran’s military, tasked with upholding the brutal Islamist dictatorship and supporting its terror proxies such as Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the IRGC is a quintessential example of an influential group with clear, radical and violent intentions. It also has a long history of acting on these intentions.

As leaders representing Canada’s Jewish and Iranian communities, we are passionate about supporting democracy and peace in Iran, so that its policies coincide with Canadian values and Charter rights.

This initiative is a uniting force for both Jews and Iranians, as not only does the IRGC frequently target Jews while continually threatening to eradicate Israel, it also harshly punishes and harasses Iranians who oppose the Islamist regime, and are passionate about having the right to common constitutional practices and ensuring equality is returned to Iran.

It is astonishing that our government continues to remain passive in the face of one of the world’s most serious threats to peace and security.

After all, last June in the House of Commons, the prime minister stated, “Mr. Speaker, we deeply oppose Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program, and its support for the murderous Assad regime. We will always defend human rights and hold Iran to account for its actions.”

For many Canadians of Iranian origin, the question of terrorism and the impact it can have hits far too close to home. Ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Tehran regime has openly positioned itself as a major promoter of violence, terror and hate. Political repression, and the notorious religious police, continue to act against religious and ethnic minorities such as Baha’is and anti-regime Iranians.

The current Iranian regime is the inspiration behind the infamous and disturbing al-Quds Day demonstrations and Asboora Marches that occur in major cities worldwide. The IRGC supports these demonstrations, which demonize Israel and incite hatred towards Jews and other religions.

We are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. The Iranian regime, along with Hezbollah, were the masterminds and executioners of this horrific attack against the Argentinian Jewish community. It was largely because of the efforts of B’nai Brith that the entirety of Hezbollah was listed as a recognized terror group in Canada in 2002. It should be noted that there is an Interpol Red Notice from Argentina against the former defence minister of Iran, Ahmad Vahidi, the commander of the Qods Force at the time of the bombing for his supposed involvement with this tragedy.

The entire IRGC should be listed promptly. It makes little sense to ban only the “military wing” of a terrorist organization, whether Hezbollah or the IRGC. The United Kingdom recently acknowledged this by banning Hezbollah in its entirety after previously exempting its “political wing.” In April, the United States officially listed the IRGC as a terrorist group, an act that B’nai Brith Canada as well as many Iranian-Canadians lauded as an example for the Canadian government to follow. Despite the passing of Mr. Genuis’ private member’s motion last year, bureaucratic measures have delayed any action from being taken here at home.

In 2012, diplomatic relations were severed between Canada and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This was necessary to ensure that Canada does not deal with a brutal regime that threatens world peace and poses a risk to many Canadians. That was an important but only partial step. We will continue to press the government of Canada until the final decision to list the entire IRGC as a terror group is made. The safety of our communities — and all Canadians — depends on it.

— Michael Mostyn is the chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada and Avideh Motmaen-Far is the president of the Council of Iranian Canadians. The authors would like to thank Iranian-Canadian representatives Reza Banai, Afshin Afshin-Jam and Nazanin Afshin-Jam McKay for their assistance with this article.