(Photo Credit: Reuters/Blair Gable)
Canada is barring entry to members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the latest sanction push, following a crackdown on anti-government protests.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new set of sanctions on 7 October and said that “the over 10,000 officers and senior members [of the IRGC] most responsible” would be targeted by his government.
During Friday’s news conference, Trudeau announced that the ban would be imposed via Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and would mark the top 50 percent of the IRGC’s leadership with a lifetime ban.
“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 said.
The new set of sanctions will also include a budget increase of $55 million to enforce the sanctions and further prevent individuals and groups affiliated with the Iranian government from laundering money in Canada.
During a live interview on 28 September, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi claimed that violent protests and attempts to destabilize Iran via armed groups were a strategy used by the country’s foreign enemies with the goal of destabilization.
“The government’s red line is our people’s security … One cannot allow people to disturb the peace of society through riots,” Raisi said, adding that “whoever participated and ignited the chaos and riots will be held to account.”
Amini’s death on 13 September sparked nationwide protests across 80 cities in Iran. According to various international reports, the death toll from the protests has reached almost 200 people.
However, Canada’s relationship with Iran started to deteriorate earlier in 2020, when the IRGC shot down Flight PS752 by accident in the aftermath of the US strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Canada led efforts in response to bring accountability, as many of the victims had direct connections to Canada.
“One thousand days ago today, the Iranian regime unlawfully and horrifically shot down passenger Flight PS752, cutting short the lives of the 176 innocent people on board – including 55 Canadians, 30 permanent residents, and a total of 138 people en route to Canada. They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, educators, and students – and most of all, they were loved,” said the statement released by the Prime Minister’s office about the incident on 4 October.
The Prime Minister added that “we remain relentless in our pursuit of justice for the families of these victims, and we will stop at nothing to ensure the regime is held accountable.”