Canada has seized and sold some $30 million worth of Iranian assets, court documents indicate. The funds were transferred to American families seeking compensation over terrorist acts that were all pinned on Tehran.
The confiscated assets include two buildings – the Iranian Cultural Center in Ottawa and Center for Iranian Studies in Toronto – as well as some $2.6 million seized from Iranian bank accounts and a couple of vehicles.
The two properties have been sold for $26.5 and $1.85 million respectively, while the proceeding were transferred to several families in the US, who sought share of the assets as a compensation for various acts of terrorism they blamed on Iran. Court documents confirming that the funds have been distributed are dated August 7, yet only caught eye of local media on Friday.
The recipients of the compensations include the family of Marla Bennett, a US exchange student killed in bombing of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem back in 2002, as well as Edward Tracy and Joseph Cicippio, who were held hostage in Lebanon from 1986 to 1991. These attacks have been blamed either on Hezbollah or Hamas, two organizations allegedly supported by Iran.
While foreign governments are typically immune to lawsuits, Canada adopted the so-called Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act back in 2012 that makes an exception of “state sponsors of terrorism.” Currently, only two countries – Iran and Syria – are on the Canadian blacklist.
The Canadian case against Iran has been dragging for a few years, and the Islamic Republic tried to challenge the property seizure, demanding some actual proof from the claimants. The mere presence of Iran on the terrorist list was appearently enough to dismiss that appeal, however.
Tehran has been rejecting all the allegations of its involvement into the terrorist acts, branding the whole case “politically motivated.”