ICC Warns Against Escalation of Tensions in Canada-Iran Relations

ICC Warns Against Escalation of Tensions in Canada-Iran Relations 

On Wednesday June 19, 2024, the Government of Canada designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity under the Canadian Criminal Code. The Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) has consistently condemned the IRGC's downing of Ukrainian flight PS752 and has advocated for justice and accountability for the victims and their families. The ICC has also urged Iran to adhere to its international human rights obligations. 

However, the ICC views the designation of an official military branch of a sovereign nation—which has mandatory conscription—as reckless and inconsistent with the decision taken by most countries allied with Canada. This designation occurred the day after the UN Human Rights “Commission found that Israeli authorities are responsible for the war crimes of starvation as a method of warfare, murder or wilful killing, intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects, forcible transfer, sexual violence, torture and inhuman or cruel treatment, arbitrary detention and outrages upon personal dignity. " This action, at a time when regional tensions are at an all-time high and there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza expanding into a broader regional conflict, particularly along the Israel-Lebanon border and  when the region most needs Canada to act constructively as an honest broker to help deescalate tensions in the region, endangers Canada’s interests in the region and the safety of Canadian citizens traveling to Iran or living in Iran. 


Despite calls from Iranian Canadians and experts to safeguard individuals who have completed their mandatory military service in the IRGC, the Canadian government has yet to implement specific exclusions from this designation. For over six years, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have said that they have been working on developing a responsible approach to this issue. However, when questioned by reporters, the Minister of Justice offered only a vague response, stating that cases involving former IRGC conscripts would be evaluated individually. The ICC strongly urges the federal government to ensure that the IRGC designation does not indiscriminately apply to individuals compelled to serve in the IRGC who have not engaged in any criminal activities under Canadian law. 


In 2019, the Trump administration designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist entity in the United States, which led to the escalation of tensions between the two countries, culminating in the downing of flight PS7522. At the time, Prime Minister Trudeau correctly stated that “if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families." It is extremely disappointing that our country has taken an action that will neither advance Canada's national interests nor benefit the people of Iran, nor will it help de-escalate tensions in the region. 

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  • ICC Communications
    published this page in News 2024-06-25 12:48:50 -0400

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