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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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Ottawa adds Iranian group to terror list

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Vic Toews

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force is now a listed terrorist entity under Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

According to the Ministry of Public Safety, the Qods Force is the clandestine branch of the IRGC responsible for extraterritorial operations and for exporting the Iranian Revolution through activities such as facilitating terrorist operations. 

“The Qods Force provides arms, funding and paramilitary training to extremist groups, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command,” the ministry said in a statement.

The news came Dec. 20 from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, following the government’s Dec. 11 addition of the IRGC to the list of entities under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA), which allows Canada to take action against businesses, groups and individuals who fund such organizations.

“The list of terrorist entities sends a strong message that Canada will not tolerate terrorist activities, including terrorist financing, or those who support such activities,” Toews said.

Jewish community organizations greeted the news enthusiastically.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) called it a “clear message to Tehran” that Canada will hold it to account for “past and future acts of terrorism.”

CIJA chair David Koschitzky said his organization had called on the government to list the IRGC “for many years.”

It’s “the next logical step in countering international terrorism,” he said. “In sponsoring horrific terror acts that have claimed scores of lives around the world, the Iranian regime has acted with impunity for far too long.”

B’nai Brith CEO Frank Dimant also applauded the move, saying that his group has also long urged the government to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

“[It] has been implicated in the targeted murder of innocent Jews internationally through acts of terror particularly in Argentina, India and most recently Bulgaria,” he said. “While most terrorist groups are not directly affiliated with any government, the [Qods Force] has direct ties to the present Iranian regime characterized by its support for international terror, nuclear threats and genocidal intent towards Israel and the Jewish people.”

Both the NDP and Liberal parties also supported Toews’ decision, although NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar told The CJN his party hoped the government would have taken this action earlier.

“It’s the right thing to do and, in fact, we’ve been calling on the government to do it. Given IRGC's role in cracking down on peaceful protesters in Iran, its backing of international terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and its support of the Assad regime, we should have taken this step sooner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who has long called for this and other sweeping actions against the Iranian regime, said while listing the Qods Force is a “welcome” decision, he also hoped the government would take further steps against Iran.

“The government is engaged in a piecemeal rather than a necessary and comprehensive strategy,” he said, adding that “the whole of the IRGC” needs to be listed as a terrorist entity.

Cotler said the government should also take legal action available to it under the Genocide Convention “to hold Iran to account for its state-sanctioned incitement to genocide” against Israel.

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