- The recipients are victims of Hamas and Hezbollah attacks, paid to the victims with the court's permission.
- One building, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, sold for $26.5 million. Another, in Toronto, was sold for $ 1.85 million.
- Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson has condemned the execution of a Canadian court ruling and the sale of Iranian property as an "unlawful decision."
Tens of millions of dollars worth of property once owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran was sold in Canada by court order and given to families of victims of terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah, groups backed by Iran. One building in Ottawa sold for $26.5 million.
The recipients are victims of Hamas and Hezbollah attacks. The money was paid to the victims with the court’s permission. One of the properties sold is an Iranian cultural center in Ottawa, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, whose building is very valuable. The building was sold to a company in Montreal for $26.5 million.
In Toronto, a building owned by an embassy and used as a center for Iranian studies was sold for $ 1.85 million. The lawyer for one of the victims’ families has confirmed that the sale of the property has been successful.
The Canadian Anti-Terror Alliance, which is trying to get victims of terrorist attacks to recover from terrorist-sponsored governments, is happy to say that Tehran has been held accountable. “The Iranian regime unwaveringly and unabashedly provides tens of billions of dollars for terrorist organizations that have destroyed innocent lives across the globe, including those of Canadians,” said Danny Eisen, spokesperson for the Canadian Coalition Against Terror.
Seizing and ultimately selling Iranian assets to compensate victims of terrorism is the final phase of a process that began seven years ago. At that time, the Conservative government in Canada named the Islamic Republic of Iran as a supporter of terrorism. According to the Justice for Victims of Terrorism document, which came into effect in 2014, victims of terrorism can sue and seek damages from governments that support terrorism. Iran and Syria are among those governments.
Foreign governments cannot formally be the subject of the complaint, but the legislature can lift some states’ judicial immunity. Only non-diplomatic assets can be used to compensate victims, meaning that embassies and consulates are exempt from the law and cannot be sold.
A number of American families who have won in the Superior Court against Iran’s terrorist attacks have filed their lawsuits in the Ontario and Nova Scotia courts seeking a share of Iran’s assets. Among them are the families of American citizen Marla Bennett, who was killed in a Hamas bombing in 2002, and the families of Lebanese hostages Edward Tracy and Joseph Cicippio.
The court ruled in favor of the victims and awarded them Iranian damages. The judge said the property was in Iran’s possession, and was based on evidence from Ottawa officials belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran did not react at the outset of the initial verdict, but then hired lawyers in Ontario to sue.
The sale of Iranian property and its distribution to victims began when the Supreme Court rejected Iran’s appeal against the ruling last year. The sale of the property is now over and the money has been distributed among the victims. In addition to the proceeds from the sale of property, the victims also receive a portion of the $ 2.6 million in their bank accounts. The release also includes a Toyota Camry and an MPV remover.
The Canadian government suspended its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic five years ago. The reason was Iran’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Iran’s nuclear program, and Israel’s threat from the Islamic Republic, with the support of terrorist groups. Current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to rebuild relations with Iran in his election campaign, a promise he has not yet fulfilled.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Reaction
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson has condemned the execution of a Canadian court ruling and the sale of Iranian property as an “unlawful decision.” Abbas Mousavi stressed that the Islamic Republic “does not compromise with any government in protecting the rights of its people.” He also called for a speedy recovery of these properties. Mousavi warned that unless the decision is revoked, the Islamic Republic will act in accordance with the international standards and that “the government of Canada will be held responsible for all the consequences.”