Iran’s assets in Canada
Iranian Cultural Centre, 2 Robinson Ave., Ottawa
Parking spot, 36A-570 Laurier Ave., W, Ottawa
RBC account 8649493, Higher Education Advisory
Scotia Bank account 40006-04451-18, Higher Education Advisory, $1.9-million
RBC account 00006-1029586, $203,000
RBC account 8649589, €333,000
RBC account 108-99-45
RBC account 108-99-52
RBC account 864-95-89
RBC account 864-95-74
Scotia Bank account 04654-10
Scotia Bank account GIC 17465324
Scotia Bank Visa account
CIBC Trust account 48 06816
CIBC Trust account 48 06719
BMO account 1051 017
Supreme Court of B.C., File S071189 $325,000 (This is a judgment awarded to the Iranian shipping lines. The money is frozen under UN sanctions)
Embassy of Iran, 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa
Official residence, 524 Acadia Ave., Ottawa
Staff quarters, 1202-570 Laurier Ave. W, Ottawa
RBC account 00006-1089978
Scotia Bank account 400060030112
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.
“Anything that we can do to find Iranian assets and make those assets available to satisfy our clients’ judgments helps us,” said John Adair, a Toronto lawyer who represents the family of Marla Bennett, a U.S. citizen killed in a 2002 bombing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In 2007, a U.S. court found Hamas and Iran responsible for the terrorist attack and ordered Tehran to pay her parents and sister almost $13-million. Unable to collect to date, the Bennetts have taken their claim to court in Ontario, as have two men held hostage by Hezbollah.
Darren Calabrese/National PostThe Iranian Cultural Centre located at 290 Sheppard Avenue West in Toronto on Oct. 31, 2012.
After years of sparring with Iran, Canada closed its embassy in Tehran last September. The decision coincided with the government’s designation of Iran as a sponsor of terrorism and appears to have been driven by fears Canadian staff in Tehran would suffer from reprisal attacks.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also suspended diplomatic relations with Iran and expelled Iran’s diplomats. He said the decision was a response to the Islamic republic’s military support for the Syrian regime, the “military dimension” of its nuclear program, “anti-Semitic racist rhetoric,” human rights abuses, support for terrorists and failure to safeguard foreign embassies. “Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” he said.
According to the Public Safety Canada website, the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp “provides arms, funding and paramilitary training to extremist groups, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.”
Read more: National Post