Canada announced on Friday that it had permanently banned half the membership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from ever entering the country, as protests sweep the nation following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
“We will be pursuing a listing of the Iranian regime, including the IRGC leadership, under the most powerful provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, according to Global News.
“The designation of a regime is a permanent decision. This means that more than 10,000 members of the IRGC leadership, for example, will be inadmissible to Canada forever,” he added.
Trudeau said this designation under IRPA has only been used in “the most serious circumstances,” such as when regimes have committed war crimes or genocide. The designation will apply to the top 50 per cent of IRGC leadership, Trudeau said, which is about 10,000 officers and senior members of the organization.
In addition to this designation, Trudeau said Canada plans to “massively expand” targeted sanctions against the people who are “most responsible for Iran’s egregious behavior.”
In order to ensure Canada can implement these sanctions, Trudeau added, the government is investing $76 million to “strengthen Canada’s overall capacity to implement sanctions.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who joined Trudeau during the Friday announcement, slammed Iran as a “state sponsor of terror.”
“It is oppressive, theocratic and misogynist. The IRGC leadership are terrorists, the IRGC is a terrorist organization,” she said, according to Global News.
“Today, by listing the IRGC under IRPA and indeed by listing the broader leadership of the Iranian regime, we are formally recognizing that fact and acting accordingly.”
The announcement comes amid the ongoing protests in Iran which broke out after the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest for wearing her hijab improperly.
The crackdown by the security forces on the protests has claimed dozens of lives, according to human rights groups.
Multiple Conservative MPs have called on Canada’s Liberal government to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity — a move Trudeau stopped short of announcing on Friday.
When pressed on the decision not to move forward with listing IRGC as a terrorist entity, Trudeau said the government has looked “very carefully” at “all the potential tools” and isn’t taking “any further tools off the table.”
“But the reality is, using these provisions that have only been used in cases like Bosnia and Rwanda to designate the Iranian regime under these provisions … this is the strongest measure we have to go after states and state entities,” Trudeau said.
“The Canadian Criminal Code is not the best tool to go after states or state entities. But we will continue to look at all tools we can use to do it. But what we are announcing today goes far beyond things that people have been asking for.”
In 2012, under the leadership of former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada closed its embassy in Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada.
At the time, Canada said it viewed the Iranian government “as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”
Trudeau, however, has taken a different approach to Iran and had been working in recent years to renew ties with the Islamic Republic.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)