Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps: Terrorist Organization

The agents of order for a harsh ideological regime and its agents of oppression.

Canada has a fairly tough and effective set of anti-terrorism laws, provided that a terrorist belongs to an entity listed by the Canadian government to which these laws are deliberately applied.  Canada has listed al Qaeda and Hezbollah, among other Islamic groups.   Once the Tamil Tigers were added to the list in 2006, it helped to being about the end of that group by making it impossible for them to continue to fund-raise in Canada.

When the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979, its leader, Ayatollah Khomeini formed an organization called the “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.”  Aside from its major goal that is the protection of the Islamic system of Iran rather than the Iranian people, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ duty is to prevent any uprisings or internal dissident.  The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps consist of:

1. Paramilitary Brigades; 31 “Corps” distributed throughout the country and who get first call on conscripts and new military equipment.

2. The Basij Militia:  A paramilitary police force of 90,000 that are the ideological police of the Iranian Revolution.

3. The Qods Force:  The terrorist element, and described exactly as such by many observers.

4. The Ansar ol Mahdi Force:  The hard core of the IRGC, they are the bodyguard force for the senior members of the government and for the nuclear program and the rocket force (which they control).

In addition, the IRGC is linked to terrorist activities around the world and supports terrorist organizations.  The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is the paramilitary troops of the Iranian regime.  Like the KGB of the Soviet Union or the SS of Nazi Germany, the IRGC are both the agents of order for a harsh ideological regime and its agents of oppression.

On the face of things, they are a national police force and a security agency for the government of a nation-state.  However, that nation state is a regime that was created and is sustained through coercion and violence, and the IRGC are the agents of that coercion.

When it suits the Iranian regime, the IRGC is a part of a legitimate government (insofar as the regime can be truly said to be legitimate).  However, when it suits the Iranian government, they can also pretend that the IRGC does not represent official policy and is not a component of that government.  This sorry sham of “plausible deniability” has been played too often.

The IRGC pretends that it is not an agent of the Iranian authorities when it is training terrorists in Lebanon and Yemen, or sending paramilitary forces to shore up Syria, fighting alongside Hezballah, or protecting dope smuggling operations in Latin America.  Its Qods Force has worked with many terrorist groups (including liaising with al Qaeda), delivered terrorist attacks of its own, and has murdered dissidents and exiles on behalf of Iran.  Some of the significant terrorist activities of the IRGC include the 1983 United States Embassy bombing in Beirut, the 1988 Kuwait Airlines hijacking, the 1992 Israel Embassy attack in Buenos Aires, and most significantly, the explosion of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. In addition, the IRGC played an important role during the 2006 Lebanon War and was responsible for firing missiles at Israeli naval vessels.  It further assisted Hezballah to fire rockets into Israel across the Syrian border.

Therefore, Canada has many reasons to put the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the terrorist list.

1. Canada has evidence that Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, was raped and tortured before her 2003 beating death in a Tehran prison. Iran has always refused to release her corpse so that we could do an autopsy.  The IRGC runs Iran’s prisons.

2. Iran supplied weapons and explosives to the Taliban in southwestern Afghanistan, apparently since 2003. The Afghan government says Iran supplied 10.9 tons of small arms and ammunition to the Taliban in 2009 and the British intercepted a big shipment in June 2011.  Iranian supplied material has probably killed some Canadian soldiers.  Arms transfers to guerrillas are one of the responsibilities of the IRGC.

3. Hezballah, a listed terrorist entity under Canadian law, has always maintained a close relationship with Iran through the IRGC – which trained and armed the group.  Hezballah has used Canada as a base for fundraising and specialist equipment, and their actions directly contributed to the death of a Canadian soldier with the UN in South Lebanon in 2006.

4. On February 3rd 2012, the Ayatollah Khamenei specifically threatened Israel and the United States with nuclear weapons, and one of his aides issued a Fatwa calling not just for the complete destruction of Israel, but of all Jews everywhere they can be found.  This is a direct threat to our citizens as well as our friends and allies.  Iran’s nuclear program and its ballistic missile program are under IRGC control.

5. Iran has made enough noise about having nuclear weapons for any sober observer to conclude that once they have a working bomb, they will use it.  This is a direct threat to many of our citizens living and working abroad, and an indirect threat to us.

6. While the records of our naval operations tend to remain highly classified, we have had naval vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea often enough in the years since the Cold War ended.  While the personnel who monitor such things in our Navy tend to be closed-mouth about their experiences, it seems some of them know what an Iranian Kilo class submarine sounds like, and what radar frequencies are associated with Iran’s Silkworm anti-ship missiles.  We also refitted our 20mm Phalanx CIWS guns with the capacity to hit small fast-moving targets, like the Boghammar speed boats the IRGC naval force uses.  In short, it seems reasonable to assume that our Navy has already been sparring – so far without shots being fired – against the IRGC’s naval forces.

7. On November 28th, 2011, US District Court Judge, John D. Bates, handed down a ruling that showed Iran had been responsible for providing material support to al Qaeda for the 1998 East African Embassy bombings.  Moreover, Judge Bates’ decision pointed out that Iran had agreed to provide training at Hezballah camps for al Qaeda as early as 1992.  Again, Iran would have operated through the IRGC.  Al Qaeda attacks have killed Canadian citizens and done massive economic harm to Canada, which is why it is listed as a terrorist entity.

8. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iran has done its utmost to keep Iraq unstable by pumping in arms and support for both radical Sunni groups (like al Qaeda, despite their frequent bloody attacks on Iraqi Shiites) and for radical Shiites like al Sadr’s militia.  They have also harassed US and UK personnel in Iraq.  Again, the Qods force of the IRGC has been implicated in much of this activity.

9. Using the Qods force and IRGC, Iran has stirred up the Shite Houthi tribesmen in Yemen and got them to stage attacks into Saudi Arabia in 2010 and 2011.

10. Members of the IRGC have been used to assassinate many Iranian exiles and dissidents since 1979 in many countries and recently were arrested in the United States for a planned assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Although the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps play a key role in protection of the Islamic Republic of Iran and suppression of the Iranian citizens, it also extends the existence of a government that has taken the lives of many innocent individuals through its terrorist activities and brutal actions.  Therefore, as the agents of ideological oppression, of state terror, and the sponsors of terrorism outside of Iran; the IRGC certainly deserves to be added to the Canadian list of entities to which our anti-terrorism laws apply.  Declaring the IRGC to be a terrorist group will allow Canadian officials to employ many more options in countering their activities inside our country, and will send another stern message to their masters in Tehran.

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