Canadian, American and Iranian Lawyers Join Forces to Identify IRGC Members in Canada

Ramin Joubin from British Columbia is on a mission.

The Burnaby-based lawyer recently joined forces with lawyers across Canada, the US and Iran to identify members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their associates living in Canada.

Together they created a website called where people report their findings. The team reviews cases and later reports them to government agencies and the police.

To date, Joubin said, the group is investigating more than 100 cases in Canada.

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“There are many reports of family members of heads of state or individuals high in the current regime in Iran,” Joubin told Global News.

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“They could be visiting, they could have a business, property, permanent residence or citizenship.”

The team also investigates cases of suspected money laundering, either by companies or individuals, he added.

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The IRGC is a feared branch of the Iranian military that defends Iran’s Islamic revolutionary regime. As the mysterious Praetorian Guard, they control the country’s most destructive military installations, including nuclear and missile programs.
For many years, Human Rights Watch has linked the IRGC to the arrest, detention, ill-treatment, and torture of activists and political prisoners. Meanwhile, its secret branch — the Qods Force — has backed extremist groups, including the Taliban, with funds, weapons and paramilitary training.

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“Many of the reports we’ve received relate to business activities in Canada that somehow circumvent sanctions and engage in various types of money laundering,” Joubin said. “This is the biggest activity we see from IRGC members and affiliates.”

The attorney also examines reports of intimidation and threats, as Canada’s own spy agency has received several credible reports of death threats against Iranian-Canadian activists.

One of the intimidation cases Joubin is investigating is that of an activist from BC who was reported to the Islamic Republic authorities by someone else who is also in BC and has not been heard from since.

“This story is very sad. It is a very close family that is very dear to this person. I feel really bad for him. He still doesn’t know where that family member is,” Joubin said.

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Joubin said he prepared a report for submission to the RCMP.

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“There is a massive campaign underway to put the IRGC on Canada’s criminal terrorist list along with the Taliban,” he said.

As of 2017, only the Qods Force is clearly listed as a terrorist entity in Canada. However, an Ontario Supreme Court recently ruled that the entire IRGC is a “terrorist entity” under Canadian law because one of its branches is on the list.

Iranian-Canadian human rights activist Soushiant Zanganehpour has also started an online petition calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity, confiscate its assets and deport IRGC officials and their families.

“We are demanding that certain things happen that are not currently happening so that Canada remains a safe haven for these perpetrators of human rights abusers,” Vancouver resident Zanganehpour told Global News.

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At a press conference Friday in Richmond, BC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked why the federal government, despite pressure from the official opposition and the Iranian-Canadian government, has not placed the IRGC in its entirety on Canada’s list of terrorist organizations.

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Trudeau said he has already taken sweeping action to sanction Iran and stands in solidarity with its citizens.

“We are and continue to seek all means to ensure that the Iranian regime knows that its continued reprehensible behavior is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

“We’ve also listed them under some of the strictest regulations available to Canada. These are immigration-related restrictions.”

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In October, Ottawa banned around 10,000 IRGC members for life from entering Canada as protests swept Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Amini died in September while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police because she was reportedly wearing her hijab too loosely.

However, Joubin said the lifetime ban does not apply to IRGC officials, their subordinates and close family members already living in the country.

There are still loopholes in existing legislation that IRGC members and their subordinates can use to circumvent sanctions, Zanganehpour added. The activist said he would like Trudeau to also label any company or organization working with the IRGC as collaborating with a terrorist entity and deeming them politically compromised.

“We can go and march and voice our concerns as many times as we can and we will continue to do so, but this has to go somewhere,” he told Global News.

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“If we get 30,000 people onto the streets of Vancouver, we hope the Canadian government sees that and says, ‘This is a significant political demand. People want more. We have to give them more.”

-With files by Elizabeth McSheffrey

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