Canadian court orders Iran to pay $1.7 billion to terror victims

In a massive blow to Iran, a Canadian court ordered it to pay damages to terror victims. 

A Canadian court ordered Iran to pay $1.7 billion in damages to American victims of acts of terrorism that the Islamic Republic supported.

Ontario’s Court of Appeal on Monday upheld a $1.7-billion ruling against Iran in favor of “American victims of terrorism,” a group of US citizens affected in various degrees by Iranian terrorism. The court rejected Iran’s appeal and claims to immunity, ruling that doing so would be a breach of Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (JVTA), which enables victims of terrorism to sue terrorists and foreign states for damages.

The lawsuits were first filed in the US, but they mostly focused on the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups, which are supported and financed by Iran.

With few Iranian government assets remaining in the US, the victims turned to Canada, where Tehran maintains property and bank accounts. The ruling enables American victims of terrorism suing Iran in Canada to recover massive damages awarded by a US court.

The court’s rejection of Iran’s appeal is another victory for victims of terrorism, holding Iran accountable for its support of Hamas and Hezbollah and their terror attacks from the 1980s through 2002.

“The terrorist attacks out of which the respondents’ US judgments arise are repugnant to civilized society. The fact that a foreign government would engage in the sponsorship of such atrocities is chilling,” wrote Justice C. William Hourigan for a panel of concurring judges, according to Canada’s National Post.

Iran has argued that the victims had to prove the country’s role in each attack instead of relying on the evidence presented in US courts, but the court rejected this claim as well.

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Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on Tuesday condemned the verdict, claiming that the Canadian ruling against a foreign government is contrary to the principle of equality of states and violates Iran’s immunity within international law.

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

“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 warned.

By: World Israel News Staff