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Iran Threatens Canada With Retaliation For Property Confiscation

FILE - Ebrahim Raees Sadat, commonly known as Ebrahim Raeesi, is an Iranian cleric heading Iran's Judiciary.
FILE - Ebrahim Raees Sadat, commonly known as Ebrahim Raeesi, is an Iranian cleric heading Iran's Judiciary.

The head of the Islamic Republic judiciary on Monday vowed to retaliate against Canada for selling confiscated Iranian assets, giving the proceeds to the victims of Tehran-related terrorism.

Speaking to the Supreme Judiciary Council, mid-ranking cleric, Ebrahim Raeesi, said, "Should Canada expropriate Iranian assets, we would also seize the assets and properties in Iran recognized as Canadian."

Meanwhile, without any elaboration, Raeesi asserted that Iran would retaliate against Canada through "international bodies."

Raeisi issued the threat at a time when Canada has already sold two buildings owned by the Islamic Republic in Ottawa and Toronto and awarded a share of $28 million in proceeds to the victims of terrorism.

The recipients include several American families who had filed claims in the Ontario and Nova Scotia courts, seeking a share of Iran's assets seized by the Canadian government.

"Canada's action is completely illegal, and blatantly against all international conventions and treaties," Raeesi noted.

Earlier, the former chairman of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy had called for the seizure of Canadian vessels sailing in the Persian Gulf to compensate for tens of millions of dollars in Iranian government properties seized by Canada.

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh insisted that the Iranian military should seize all vessels carrying goods and products to or from Canada as soon as possible, and Canadian assets inside Iran should be confiscated.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly denied involvement in deadly terrorist attacks carried out by Tehran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas.

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 favor of victims' families. Plaintiffs eventually won their case against Iran in Ontario, and after Iran lost an appeal, the properties were sold.

Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran for a host of reasons, including its support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. In 2015 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would restore relations, but that did not materialize.