Canadian court awards $13mn in frozen assets to ‘Iran terror’ victims

A Canadian court has awarded $13 million in non-diplomatic assets seized from Iran to the families of Americans who died in several attacks globally, which had allegedly been sponsored by Tehran between 1983 to 2002.

The judgment by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, obtained by AFP on Friday, found Tehran responsible for financing and training Hamas and Hezbollah operatives, who carried out eight bombings or hostage-takings in Buenos Aires, Israel, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia over a period spanning nearly 20 years.

“Terrorism is one of the world’s greatest threats,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Glenn Hainey said in his decision. “The broad issue before the court is whether Iran is entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts for its support of terrorism.”

The ruling for the $13 million payout does not affect Iran’s diplomatic property in Canada but does touch non-diplomatic properties and a list of frozen bank accounts. Tehran did not immediately comment on the court judgment.

The suit was heard under the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terror Act, which allows the families' victims to collect damages from state sponsors of terror groups. In Canada, Iran is designated a sponsor of terrorism.

The judgment on June 10 mirrors a recent American court ruling against Tehran that was also won by families of the terrorist attack victims in the United States in Spring. Iran has promised to battle the decision in international courts.