Trudeau says Ottawa may designate the IRGC a terror group

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told mourners at a Flight PS752 vigil that his government may designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terror group. 'Canadians will never forget the tragedy of when the plane went down,' he said.

Trudeau says Ottawa may designate the IRGC a terror group
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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Dozens of Canadian citizens died more than four years ago in the downing of Flight PS752, and the Trudeau Liberals are no closer to holding those responsible to account.

Family members and parliamentarians paid their respects on January 8 to commemorate the 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents killed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). 

Everyone aboard the Ukraine International Airlines jetliner in January 2020 died shortly after takeoff from Tehran, courtesy of two errant surface-to-air missiles.

After a moment of silence at the Richmond Hill, Ontario vigil, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several government officials gave remarks short of designating the IRGC a terror group.

"Canadians will never forget the tragedy of when the plane went down," Trudeau told the crowd of mourners.

"There is more to do to hold the regime to account and we will continue our work, including continuing to look for ways to responsibly list the IRGC as a terrorist organization," he said.

The remarks built upon similar sentiments expressed last November 14, when the prime minister told reporters they would "do everything we can" to hold Iran responsible.

Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.K. earlier committed to referring the matter to Iran at the International Court of Justice.

Canada has refuted a 2021 report claiming the Islamic Republic of Iran accidentally shot down the airliner after the IRGC "misidentified" it as a "hostile target."  

On Monday, they initiated dispute proceedings against Iran before the International Civil Aviation Organization council for contravening its tenets for safe global air travel. 

"Four unbearable years have passed from a crime that is unprecedented in the history of aviation," said Azadeh Heidari, the mother of passenger Amir Marodi. "We gather to remember and honour all loved ones."

Maral Gorginpour's husband, Fareed Arasteh, also perished on the flight. "To be honest, I'm still in denial. I can't believe that he's not here," she said.

In addition, Trudeau lauded their efforts to bar senior Iranian agents from entering Canada.

Last December, they engaged in deportation proceedings for two alleged Iranian officials in Canada, Iranmanesh Majid and Seyed Salman Samani. Their matters remain before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Courtesy of tips from the public and referrals from Immigration Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency is investigating 141 persons of interest with status in Canada. As of writing, six other officials are set to appear before the IRB to assess their admissibility into Canada. 

Speaking after Trudeau, Deputy Conservative leader Melissa Lantsman repeated calls to designate the IRGC a terror group. 

"This evil act of murder [...] underscored a truth that our country has known for a very long time — the IRGC is a terrorist group," she said. "Nobody has been more resolute in their calls for justice than all of you here today."

The remarks followed Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc dodging pressure to make the terror designation last week.

"Our government is always looking at measures to reinforce national security, to hold terrorist organizations to account," he told reporters on January 5.

"I have asked the national security agencies to continue to update the advice to the government on possible future listings and when we have more to say on a particular change in posture, we will have something to say at that point."

Last November, Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre took exception with the Trudeau Liberals dragging their feet.

"To think that we might have terrorist-linked Iranian regime thugs operating with impunity, spending stolen money and intimidating Canadian Jews and Iranians is appalling," he said, pledging a tough-on-Iran approach if elected as prime minister.

At the time, Global News learned that roughly 700 people with ties to Iran reside in Canada and have allegedly threatened their critics. Canada has become a safe haven for Iranian agents, they reported.

On October 29, 2022, Trudeau pledged never to let Canada become "a haven for killers, murderers, and those responsible for the repression of Iranian people."

Poilievre has since urged the feds to take "immediate action to kick them out."

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