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Canadian Court Verdict Undermines Rapprochement Efforts

Canadian Court Verdict Undermines Rapprochement EffortsCanadian Court Verdict Undermines Rapprochement Efforts

A recent ruling by a Canadian court to uphold a $1.7-billion judgment against Iran has dealt a setback to efforts aimed at normalizing Tehran-Ottawa ties, a lawmaker said.

The ruling was meant to settle lawsuits originally filed in the US by those claiming to be victims of attacks allegedly linked to resistance groups tied to Iran.

“Relations between Iran and Canada have been overshadowed by Canada’s anti-Iran moves,” Alireza Rahimi also told ICANA on Friday.

He noted that Iran’s lawyers would intervene to defend its national interests in case the Canadian government goes so far as to take action to enforce the verdict.  The court’s Monday decision in favor of American claimants drew the condemnation of Iran’s Foreign Ministry the next day. Iran has argued it is immune from prosecution in Canada, the damage awards from the US far exceeded what is allowable in Canada and the judgments violate international law.

The plaintiffs had sought compensation in the court under Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, National Post reported.

The JVTA, enacted in 2012, allows victims of terrorism to sue foreign states for damages.

With few Iranian government assets remaining in the United States, the victims turned to Canada where Tehran maintained property and bank accounts.

The act allows US claimants to seek Iran’s money in Canada. In February, Canada’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that Iran had to pay $300,000 in legal costs to the so-called victims of terrorism. Iran initially declined to act against the original lawsuits but after facing a series of judgments followed by enforcement orders last year, it launched a defense against each of the findings in Canada. After losing, Iran appealed, arguing the judge erred on every legal issue before him.

  Spate of Hostilities

In another anti-Iran move, the Canadian government opted on Friday to continue listing Iran as a state supporter of terrorism, which will continue to keep relations frozen between Ottawa and Tehran.

Those included on the list of terrorism support—currently just Iran and Syria—would be stripped of their immunity. That list is reviewed every two years.

The anti-Iran moves came despite incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s electoral promise to reopen Canada’s Embassy in Tehran and move to “reengage”.

Iran and Canada have not had diplomatic contacts since September 2012, when former Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, cut bilateral relations, citing among other pretexts, what he described as “continued threats from Iran to Israel”.

 

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