Tehran Times reported that Abbasali Kadkhodaei, spokesperson for Iran’s Guardian Council accused Canada of “economic terrorism” and called for retaliation. “Economic terrorism is a method in which Western governments seize or confiscate other nations’ economic resources and interests through misusing legal tools without fair legal procedures,” Kadkhodaei tweeted, Tasnim reported. “Canada’s seizure of Iranian state properties is a blatant example of state-run economic terrorism,” remarked Kadkhodaei, a law expert. “Canada’s action is contrary to generally recognized principles of international law, including the principle of sovereignty,” the Guardian Council spokesman added. He called on Iran’s Judiciary to take countermeasures against the Canadian government.
Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, who is a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, maintained that courts in Iran should be authorized to seize Canadian government properties in Iran, and reportedly said that Canadian ships traversing through the Strait of Hormuz should be confiscated through an order,
The comments came after a report by Global News said Canada had gifted some $30 million worth of Iranian assets to the victims of terrorist attacks in which Iran says has not been involved. According to the report, the victims have received their share of the money earned through the sale of two Iranian-owned buildings in Ottawa and Toronto, a document filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in August reveals. The Ottawa property, sold for $26.5 million, was used as the Iranian Cultural Center, and the Toronto building, sold for $1.85 million, served as the Center for Iranian Studies, Global News reported. In addition to the $28 million earned from the sale of the two properties, the victims were also awarded a share of some $2.6 million seized from Iran’s bank accounts.
The action was pursuant to Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, a law enacted in 2012 by the previous Conservative government that allowed victims to sue state sponsors of terrorism for damages. The law lifts state immunity from countries deemed state sponsors of terrorism, with Iran and Syria currently being the only countries so designated. The law, under which only non-diplomatic assets can be claimed by victims, allows terror victims who had won judgements against Tehran outside Canada to claim the regime’s Canadian assets. As a result, several American families filed suits in Ontario and Nova Scotia courts. The courts ruled in favour of the victims, and Iran’s assets were sold and the proceeds distributed to the victims. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected Iran’s appeal.
Recipients include the family of a U.S. citizen killed in a 2002 bombing that rocked the Hebrew University in Jerusalem al-Quds. The attacks are mostly blamed on Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements Hamas and Hezbollah. The families claimed that the Iranian government supported the two organizations and was therefore responsible for their actions. Iran has denied any role in the attacks, saying the court ruling is an unlawful move that will have consequences for the Ottawa government if not revoked.