An Ontario judge has issued a restraining order against Iran’s property in Canada which included its Embassy in Ottawa, two former cultural centers and a diplomatic residence.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Beth Allen temporarily froze the assets in response to a request filed by the family of an American, Marla Bennett, who was killed in a Jerusalem bombing 11 years ago that was said to be the work of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group supported by Iran.
“The Bennett family won a default judgment against Iran for $12.9 million in an American court but was unable to collect; they are now trying to enforce it with Iranian assets in Canada,” the New York Times reported.
Whether the court will grant the family to seize the properties is unknown.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, was quoted this week in Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying “the political motivations behind such a move are not hidden to anybody.”
Mehmanparast also stated that Ontario court’s decision violates the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
According to the National Post the Canadian properties at issue are:
– A large, four-storey building surrounded by a high metal fence at 245 Metcalfe Street in Ottawa, that housed Iran’s embassy until ordered closed last month by the Canadian government;
– A one-storey backsplit converted into offices at 290 Sheppard Avenue West in Toronto, that operated as the Centre for Iranian Studies but is currently available for lease;
– A long, industrial building at 2 Robinson Avenue in Ottawa, near the University of Ottawa, operated as the Iranian Cultural Centre but, court heard, during renovations after its purchase in 1998, the applicant identified on the building permit was the “Islamic Republic of Iran.”