Conservative deputy leader says party backs calls for regime change in Iran

Conservative Deputy Leader Melissa Lantsman said her party supports calls for regime change in Iran following protests that have rocked the country in recent weeks since the death of Mahsa Amini.

During a roundtable of MPs on CBC broadcasts power and politicshost Vassy Kapelos asked Lantsman if his party supports calls for regime change.

“Yeah, and if you can’t be unequivocal about a brutal religious dictatorship killing its own people, then I’m not sure what we’re all discussing here,” Lantsman replied.

Conservatives would add IRGC to terrorist list

Lantsman was named one of Pierre Poilievre’s MPs after he was elected Conservative leader. CBC has contacted Poilievre’s office for comment, but has not received a response as of press time.

During his leadership campaign, Poilievre said he would add the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Canada’s list of terrorist organizations, if elected to government. He also promised to take Iran’s downing of flight PS752 to the International Criminal Court and impose Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible.

Conservatives have stepped up their calls for the government to add the IRGC to the terrorist list since protests over the death of Mahsa Amini earlier this month rocked Iran.

The 22-year-old woman died after being detained by Iranian morality police, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly. According to Iranian state media, at least 41 people were killed in the protests that followed.

The protests have also turned into an open challenge to the government, with some calling for the fall of the country’s ruling clerics.

WATCH | Should Canada list the Iranian IRGC as a terrorist entity?

Should Canada list the Iranian IRGC as a terrorist entity?

Liberal MP Arif Virani, Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman and NDP MP Heather McPherson on whether the death of Mahsa Amini and the subsequent crackdown on protesters should prompt the government to classify Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist entity.

Dennis Horak, Canada’s former charge d’affaires in Iran, said he believed outside calls for regime change were of no use.

“There is no viable alternative waiting in the wings to take over. We all want a change in the behavior of the regime, but I am not at all convinced that it is possible with the way the current leadership is built,” he said. in an email to CBC.

“Ultimately, however, change – if it happens – has to come from within.”

The Liberals announced sanctions

Speaking on the same panel as Lantsman, Liberal MP Arif Virani was not as equivocal as the Conservative MP when asked if the government backs calls for regime change.

“We support calls for action and sanctions against the individuals involved,” Virani told Kapelos.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada would impose sanctions on “dozens” of Iranian individuals and entities – including the country’s so-called morality police – but did not go into specifics. .

In a statement to the media, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said it was Canada’s “intention” to sanction certain Iranians, including members of the morality police and its executives, but provided no further details. However, Virani said a full list of those sanctioned would be released within “days”.

MPs passed a motion in 2018 to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Four years later, it still hasn’t, but Virani said the government was “looking into all possibilities”, including adding the group to the terrorist list.

But the office of Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino says the decision is not for politicians.

“Determining whether a group constitutes a terrorist entity is a careful, apolitical process undertaken by Canada’s natural security agencies,” spokesperson Alexander Cohen said in an email to The Canadian Press.

“These agencies work continuously to identify and assess entities that may meet the listing threshold.”

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