Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Rob Oliphant

Canada Needs Concerted Effort Against Islamic Republic – Official

Wednesday, 01/25/2023

A Canadian lawmaker has told Iran International that Ottawa needs to have a coordinated front against the atrocities of the Islamic Republic and the IRGC, both inside Canada and abroad. 

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Rob Oliphant told our correspondent that Canada would designate the entirety of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization if it was easy and effective to do. 

He added that the quickest action the Canadian government can take is limiting the activities of the Islamic Republic “through both the immigration act as well as through the special economic measures act that targets sanctions on those in the IRGC who are most directly responsible for the atrocities which they are committing on behalf of the regime.”

Oliphant maintained that Ottawa plans to sanction somewhere around 10,000 former and current IRGC officers who are the most complicit in atrocities, banning them from coming to Canada or expelling them if they are in the country. 

Oliphant added that “We are watching, and we have been absolutely committed to making sure that we get the right people out of the country and not allowed into the country because no one should be able to take advantage of the fact that they’ve been part of the regime; they’ve been part of the murderers, part of the detentions, part of those atrocities.”

In October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has designated Iran's IRGC leadership, adding that “we will restrict financial transactions with the Islamic Republic of Iran associated with the IRGC and the proxies that support them. These actions are some of the strongest measures anywhere against Iran.”

The West on Monday stepped up pressure on Iran over its crackdown on protests and arms supply for the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the US, the European Union and United Kingdom imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran. However, the EU stopped short of designating the IRGC a terrorist outfit, as the European Parliament had voted last week to urge the block to do. 

The Canadian official noted that “We are in conversation with other countries to make sure we do it well and we do it as quickly as possible.”

Demonstration outside the headquarters of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in northeastern France to urge the European Union to list the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a terrorist organization on January 16, 2023

Members of the European Parliament as well as Iranians have called on European politicians to declare the IRGC as a terror group, as it was responsible for leading most of the security forces who killed, maimed and arrested protesters. The issue of Europe listing the IRGC emerged in recent weeks as the Iranian regime has killed more than 500 people during popular protests that started in September, after the death of Mahsa Amini in hijab police custody. Many European officials, including EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell, believe that the move is legally complicated and would obstruct ways to negotiate the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

In response to a question about the activities by supporters of the Islamic Republic against the Iranian diaspora in Canada, Oliphant said, “I hear the stories of people who have been harassed, and intimidated; people who feel that there are people who are working for the regime in Canada.” 

“What we need is a concerted whole-of-government effort because it’s policing, it’s intelligence, it’s foreign affairs, it’s defense; it’s a series of different people involved in these sorts of decisions. We need to have a one place where people can take their concerns when they have been intimidated, harassed... those things need to be investigated. We need to find out whether Canadian laws have been broken and move ahead. It’s too complicated right now. People don’t know who to call.”

Calling on the Canadians to “go to the local police” if they feel any kind of threat, he added that “There should be one place where people can go to lay a complaint, bring evidence, show it and then it can be investigated. We have the resources now to do it. We just need to put it in a place for public safety particularly by making sure all branches of the government get this work done.”

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