Iran’s assets in Canada include more than $2.6-million held in 13 different bank accounts, Ottawa reveals
The federal government has identified millions of dollars worth of Iranian state assets in Canada, ranging from bank accounts to a parking spot, that may now be claimed by victims of terrorist groups sponsored by the Islamic republic.
The list of Iran’s 22 Canadian assets was to be released by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to help victims who want to collect damages from Iran due to the regime’s support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
A copy of the list obtained in advance by the National Post includes the Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa, a parking spot in the capital, 13 bank accounts containing more than $2.6-million, a VISA account and $325,000 currently frozen under United Nations sanctions.
In addition to those “non-diplomatic assets,” the list also includes Iran’s five diplomatic properties: the Iranian chancery, ambassador’s official residence and staff headquarters in Ottawa, as well as two embassy bank accounts.
The federal government says Iran’s non-diplomatic assets can be awarded to terror victims, while diplomatic assets are protected under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and therefore cannot be awarded. But the matter is still before the Ontario courts.
The release of the highly unusual list was portrayed by officials as an attempt to help victims hold Iran to account for arming and bankrolling an array of terrorists. It comes more than a year after Parliament enacted the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows Canadian victims of terrorism to seek redress through the courts.
The law applies to victims of attacks committed anywhere in the world as far back as Jan. 1, 1985. Under the legislation, nations designated by Canada as state sponsors of terrorism lose their state immunity. On Sept. 7, 2012, the government listed Iran and Syria, opening both governments up to lawsuits. Canadian terror victims are now preparing suits but none has yet been filed. Two cases involving U.S. victims trying to collect damages are currently being heard in Ontario courts.
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