May 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Canada’s House of Commons Presses Trudeau to Designate IRGC

May 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Canada’s House of Commons Presses Trudeau to Designate IRGC

Latest Developments

The Canadian House of Commons unanimously passed a motion on May 8 to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization under the Criminal Code. The motion is non-binding and requires Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s signature to have force. However, Trudeau has shown little appetite in the past to designate the IRGC. In 2018, the premier failed to list the IRGC after Canadian lawmakers passed a resolution to “immediately designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a listed terrorist entity under the Criminal Code of Canada.”

Expert Analysis

“To those who argue that a terrorist designation would provoke the IRGC, the answer is that it is the IRGC that has provoked and done harm to Canada and the world. It’s long past time for Canada to draw a line by using all instruments of its power to demonstrate that the IRGC’s nefarious actions have consequences. It is inaction that emboldens the Islamic Republic.” — Toby Dershowitz, Managing Director of FDD Action

“The IRGC is already responsible for Canadian deaths with reports of continued threats on Canadian soil. With the IRGC escalating on multiple fronts, Trudeau should finally designate the group as a terrorist organization.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Canada’s House of Commons has done the right thing, but now, at long last, Prime Minister Trudeau must act to fulfill the people’s will. As Iran fuels bloodshed in Israel and throughout the Middle East, Trudeau’s designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization under the Criminal Code would simply pronounce an undeniable reality. Continued delay is inexcusable.” — Tzvi Kahn, FDD Research Fellow and Senior Editor

IRGC Responsible for Canadian Deaths

In January 2020, the IRGC shot down Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752, killing all 176 passengers —  including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents. Ontario judge Edward Belobaba later ruled that “the shooting down of Flight 752” by the IRGC “was an act of terrorism.” He said the IRGC “knew Flight PS 752 was a civilian airplane and purposefully shot it down with the intent to destroy it.”

The victims’ families have repeatedly pressed Ottawa to hold the IRGC accountable, but the Trudeau government has taken only limited action. In November 2022, Ottawa expanded sanctions against Iran and designated the regime under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as one “that has engaged in terrorism and systemic and gross human rights violations,” barring more than 10,000 regime officials, including IRGC personnel, from entering Canada.

IRGC Designated in the United States

The U.S. designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019. “We’re doing [this] because the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government,” then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “This historic step will deprive the world’s leading state sponsor of terror the financial means to spread misery and death around the world.” In December 2023, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to Trudeau urging him to designate the IRGC. “It is vital that Canada recognizes the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and takes all appropriate steps to address it,” the lawmakers said.

Canada Must Impose Consequences on Iran for Downing Flight PS752,” by Tzvi Kahn and Toby Dershowitz

Canada must put Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on terrorist list under Criminal Code,” by Toby Dershowitz, Tzvi Kahn, and Kaitlyn Romaine

Canada Must Recognize Iran’s Role in Gaza Terror,” by Tzvi Kahn


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Military and Political Power