Iran: Canada court ruling against international norms

July 5, 2017

TEHRAN - The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday rejected the ruling of a Canadian court requiring Tehran to pay around $1.7 billion in damages to “American victims of terrorism,” saying the move is inconsistent with international and judicial procedures.

Issuing verdict against a foreign government is contrary to the principle of equality of states and violates their immunity within the international law, ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

On Monday night, Ontario’s Court of Appeal upheld a $1.7-billion ruling against Iran in favor of “American victims of terrorism”, rejecting Iran’s appeal and immunity, arguing that doing so would be a breach of Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (JVTA).

The complaints were first filed in the U.S. but the families of victims of terror attacks mostly blamed on Hamas and Hezbollah turned to Canada after finding out that the Iranian government had more properties and bank accounts there. Iran has said the victims had to prove the country's role in each attack instead of relying on the U.S. baseless accusations.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran preserves the right to file complaints and pursue the ruling,” Qassemi noted.

“Regardless of division of branches in Canada, the country’s government is directly responsible for any material and moral damage that such unlawful measures may cause,” he added.

Masoud Zamani, an Iranian law expert, also on Tuesday objected to the Ontario court’s ruling, saying under the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property one country cannot uphold human rights charges against and block the assets of a third country.

SP/PA

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