Some $21 million of Iranian property has been sold in Canada after authorities ordered it be seized to compensate victims of attacks backed by Tehran.
On 7 August the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario ruled that funds from the $21.1 million asset sale should be distributed to victims of Hamas and Hezbollah attacks. The two groups are said to be backed by Iran, making Tehran “a state sponsor of terrorism”.
One of two properties sold was the former Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa which raised a staggering $20 million.
In addition to the proceeds of the sale of the properties, the victims were awarded a share of some $2 million seized from Iran’s bank accounts.
“The Iranian regime unwaveringly and unabashedly provides tens of billions of dollars for terrorist organisations that have destroyed innocent lives across the globe, including those of Canadians,” said Danny Eisen, spokesperson for the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, which lobbied to change the law so victims could seek redress from states that sponsor terrorism.
Under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act in Canada, victims can pursue through the courts claims for compensation using Canadian assets of state sponsors of terrorism.
At present only Iran and Syria are designated as such by Ottawa.
Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012. During his election campaign in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to restore ties with Iran however this never saw fruition.
Iran continues to denies it has any links to the attacks which the court cases are based on, saying victims should have been asked to prove Tehran’s involvement and not based judgement on the US’ allegations.