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Canada bans more than 10K Iran Revolutionary Guard members from entering country

Canada has permanently banned half the membership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from ever entering Canada, as protests sweep the nation following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Amini died last month while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police for reportedly wearing her hijab too loosely.

“We will be pursuing a listing of the Iranian regime, including the IRGC leadership, under the most powerful provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, speaking to reporters on Friday.

“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.”

Trudeau said this designation under IRPA has only been used in “the most serious circumstances,” such as when regimes have committed war crimes or genocide. The designation will apply to the top 50 per cent of IRGC leadership, Trudeau said, which is about 10,000 officers and senior members of the organization.

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In addition to this designation, Trudeau said Canada plans to “massively expand” targeted sanctions against the people who are “most responsible for Iran’s egregious behaviour.”

In order to ensure Canada can implement these sanctions, Trudeau added, the government is investing $76 million to “strengthen Canada’s overall capacity to implement sanctions.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who joined Trudeau during the Friday announcement, slammed Iran as a “state sponsor of terror.”

“It is oppressive, theocratic and misogynist. The IRGC leadership are terrorists, the IRGC is a terrorist organization,” she said.

“Today, by listing the IRGC under IRPA and indeed by listing the broader leadership of the Iranian regime, we are formally recognizing that fact and acting accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Amini’s death has sparked global criticism of Iran, as well as anti-government protests that continue to unfold in the nation.

Iran has cracked down on the unrest. Security forces have rounded up an untold number of demonstrators, as well as artists who have voiced support for the protests. Local officials report at least 1,500 arrests. About 130 people have died during the protests, human rights groups report.

On Monday, Ottawa sanctioned nine entities and 25 individuals, including senior Iranian officials and members of the IRGC.

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— With files from Global News’ Aaron D’Andrea

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.