A former military commander, who asked not to be named, said he warned Canadian forces of the risks of going to war.
He said the decision to intervene was taken on the basis of what he calls a “very serious” threat to Canada.
“I think there’s a very serious possibility of war,” said Col. Mike McQuade, who commanded Canadian Forces Forces Forces High Command from 2009 to 2011.
“There’s a real risk that we’ll be attacked and we’ll suffer serious consequences.
I think the risk is real.”
The military has not ruled out launching airstrikes if the Iranian military takes control of key parts of Iraq and Syria, such as the port city of Tal Afar.
A senior defence official confirmed to The Globe that a planned strike on Iranian targets is imminent, with no indication of the targets.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is aware of the threat.
“We are working with our allies to take steps to prevent the Iranian regime from using force against Canada, but at this time we cannot provide further comment at this stage,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
A number of other countries have already made threats against Canada in recent weeks, including Israel, South Korea, China, Russia and the United States.
The former military official said the threat was “an old one” that could be repeated.
The Canadian government, he said, had to act.
“If we were to attack a country we didn’t know what they had in their arsenal and they were using chemical weapons, we’d be taking our eyes off the ball,” he said.
“This is not something that can be resolved by just talking.”