Iran has condemned Canada’s move to distribute more than $28 million from sale of its confiscated properties and cash to compensate a group of terror victims.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Friday September 13 condemned the move as “a clear breach of international law,” and urged the Canadian government to immediately return the properties and revoke the decision.
Earlier, Canadian press revealed that based on a ruling going back to 2016 and later affirmed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, tens of millions of dollars’ worth of seized Iranian government properties have been sold in Canada and the proceeds were handed to "victims of terrorist groups sponsored by the Iranian regime in various parts of the word."
Mousavi said that Tehran will take action to restore its rights based on international regulations if Canada failed to revoke the "unlawful decision," adding that the government of Canada will be held responsible for all the consequences” and stressing that Iran will not compromise with any other government when it comes to protecting its citizens’ rights.
According to a report by the Global News, Canada has distributed $28 million to the victims of terrorist attacks in which Iran says has not been involved. The report said two Iranian-owned buildings have already been sold in Ottawa and Toronto at the court's order.
The property in Ottawa which was sold for $26.5 million, was used as the Iranian Cultural Center, and the Toronto building, sold for $1.85 million, was the Center for Iranian Studies, the Global News reported.
Other reports say the victims were also awarded a share of some $2.6 million seized from Iran’s bank accounts. Documents also list two cars as part of the Iranian assets seized at the court's order.
Canada passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act in 2012, which allowed for non-diplomatic properties of governments accused of sponsoring terrorism to be seized in favour of victims’ families. Plaintiffs eventually won their case against Iran in Ontario and after Iran lost an appeal the properties were sold.
Canada cut diplomatic relations with Iran for host of reasons, including its support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. In 2015 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will restore relations but that did not materialize.
The terror victims include the family of Marla Bennett, a US citizen killed in a 2002 bombing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, reports said, adding that the attacks were mostly blamed on Palestinian and Lebanese groups Hamas and Hezbollah. The families claimed that the Iranian government supported the two organizations and was therefore responsible for their actions, said the Globe News.