TORONTO — The Iranian government lost a key court battle Thursday when an Ontario judge ordered the Islamic republic’s non-diplomatic assets in Canada to be handed over to victims of terrorist groups sponsored by Tehran.
The long-awaited ruling by the Ontario Superior Court dismissed every argument Iran’s lawyers had made at a trial held in Toronto in January, leaving Tehran financial responsible for the actions of the terrorists it has backed.
“Terrorism is one of the world’s greatest threats,” Justice Glenn Hainey wrote. “The broad issue before the court is whether Iran is entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts for its support of terrorism.”
Iran’s diplomatic buildings in Ottawa remain unaffected, but several non-diplomatic properties and the contents of a list of bank accounts were awarded to the victims of the Iranian-supported terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
The $13-million case was the first challenge of the Justice for Victims of Terror Act. The 2012 law allows victims to collect damages from state sponsors of terror groups. Canada has designated Iran and Syria state sponsors of terrorism.