A Global News investigation has found that Canada has become a haven for affiliates of the Islamic Republic of Iran who allegedly threaten the lives of Iranian-Canadians and other dissidents in that country.
Critics of the regime are renewing their calls for the Canadian government to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
During an appearance in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, on Tuesday, Global News asked Trudeau if Canada would make the designation, just as the United States did in 2019.
“We continue to monitor and ensure that we are able to do everything we can to responsibly combat the impact of the IRGC,” Trudeau said Tuesday.
“As I have said repeatedly, the Iranian regime responsible for the downing of PS752, the murder of its own citizens and the murder of Canadian citizens, and its sponsorship of terrorism around the world, means that we will continue to do everything necessary, hold this regime accountable, limit its impact in the world and protect Canadians.
Global News calls on Trudeau to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization
The IRGC is the regime’s powerful paramilitary organization that is behind numerous human rights violations in Iran.
On January 8, 2020, the IRGC shot down Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 over Tehran, with two surface-to-air missiles.
The crash killed all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.
Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom announced that they would take Iran to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the incident.
This weekend’s investigation on Global News’ current affairs show, The New Reality, revealed that an alarming number of regime affiliates are believed to be living and operating in Canada.
Ramin Joubin is a British Columbia immigration lawyer who has identified and investigated the alarming number of people in Canada with ties to the regime.
“We currently have about 700 names who have either temporary residency, permanent residency, or citizenship, who are in Canada and who are in some way affiliated with the regime,” Joubin told Global News. “And some of them had already planned this and they came to Canada knowing that this would be their refuge. »
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to tackle the problem. He stood alongside the families of the victims of PS752 in Ottawa on October 29, 2022. He was passionate in his empathy and rhetoric: “We know that there are people in Canada now who have taken advantage of the corrupt regime and horrible of Iran and who hide among… this beautiful community.
Trudeau insisted on action: “We will work with every tool at our disposal to ensure that Canada is never again a haven for the killers, murderers and perpetrators of the repression of the Iranian people,” he said. he declared last October.
On Tuesday, Trudeau defended his government’s actions. “One of the measures we took, while a government was using a tool last year, has rarely been used in Canada… where we used measures to list senior members of the IRGC as permanently banned from Canada . Even if there is a regime change and a considerable improvement in the way the Iranian regime treats not only its people but people around the world, these people will be banned from Canada for the rest of their lives.
But that wasn’t enough to stop Seyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi from entering Canada this summer.
Hashemi was a senior minister in the same Iranian administration at the time PS752 was shot out of the sky.
Last August, Hashemi was seen in Montreal, in the background of a Radio-Canada report on tourism in Quebec. He was also captured on social media visiting Casa Loma in Toronto.
While on vacation in Canada, he allegedly threatened Canadian citizen Hamed Esmaeilion, whose wife and daughter were killed on PS752.
On August 28, Immigration Minister Marc Miller posted on that Hashemi’s request for temporary residency was refused and that Hashemi was banned for three years, due to “Iran’s disregard for human rights.”
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All of this has raised new questions about how regime affiliates like Hashemi can enter Canada in the first place.
“There are major gaps in the system, gaps that many regime officials fall into,” says Canadian human rights lawyer Kaveh Shahrooz. “They can come to Canada without being arrested or being able to bring their money here, bring their family here and live comfortably.”
Immigration lawyer Joubin agrees, and in response to Trudeau’s remarks Tuesday, says the government needs to designate the IRGC a terrorist organization, or explain why it won’t.
“If you don’t want to do it, give us a reason. The lack of transparency and frankness on this simple issue; of course, it’s upsetting and it’s not something I want to see in Canadian politics,” Joubin said.
Global News asked Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc for answers. In a statement, a spokesperson for Minister Leblanc said: “Foreign interference by state and non-state actors targets many facets of our society – and the first and hardest hit are often diaspora communities.
“Any attempt by foreign agents to intimidate or coerce Canadian citizens on Canadian soil is simply unacceptable. Our government has a suite of tools to combat foreign interference. We continually look for ways to adapt our measures in light of evolving threats.
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“What else the IRGC needs to do to be listed as a terrorist group is really a mystery,” Shahrooz told Global News. “I mean, we had organizations like The Proud Boys, a racist organization that, within days of being investigated by Canadian authorities, was listed as a terrorist group. The IRGC has a documented record of killing Canadians and people of other nationalities, in addition to repression at home.
“Part of the problem is that the Government of Canada is not taking these steps (to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity), but I think it is just as serious that the Government of Canada is refusing to do so. tell activists and stakeholders in the Iranian Canadian community. why he is not taking action,” Shahrooz added. “He talks a perfectly good talk about wanting to stand with the Iranian people, but he doesn’t actually take the necessary steps or explain why he isn’t adopting the policies we need.”
Trudeau refuses to say whether the federal government will list the IRGC as a terrorist entity