An expert on international law says Canada’s move to sell Iranian-owned properties in the country was an attempt to curry favour with US President Donald Trump.
“Recently, US-Canada relations have been hit by tensions and it seems Canada’s move is more of a green light to Trump to improve ties between the two countries,” Sabah Zanganeh, a former Iranian diplomat, said in an interview with ISNA.
“This move can be a green light by Canada to the US to improve mutual relations at a time when the United States is exerting pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the expert said.
“A bone of contention between Canada and the US was the revocation of an agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico. Reciprocal measures by Canada and Mexico prompted Trump to make some changes to trade policies as well as trade agreements between the three countries,” he noted.
However, Zanganeh added, Canada and Mexico did not achieve what they had in mind completely, which sustained pressure on trade and economic transactions between the two countries.
“As a result, Canada has been seeking to pursue Trump’s approach, which includes economic sanctions, seizure of Iranian assets, the imposition of bans on authorities and other methods,” he said.
“The policy that Canada is pursuing somehow plays into Trump’s hands. In fact, Canada has adopted a policy similar to that of Trump toward Iran,” he added.
He underscored the move by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau administration to seize Iranian property has no legal basis and seems more like theft on own soil.
“Canada regards itself as being among the countries which advocate human rights and the countries which, politically speaking, are against Iran. So, due to these reasons, and, in fact in order to get political mileage from the situation, Canada has opted to confiscate Iran’s assets, property and facilities,” said the expert.
“This is in violation of rules and regulations pertaining to ownership of landed property and security of deposits at banks,” he noted, urging that Iran should follow up on Ottawa’s action through Canadian courts.
The expert said other issues are also at play when it comes to Tehran-Ottawa relations.
“Apart from these issues, there are also other issues involved in Iran-Canada transactions, issues which have not been followed up,” he said.
“These issues are related to embezzlers who transferred huge amounts of Iranian money and property to this country. In such cases, cooperation by Canadian financial, political and economic systems has paved the way for such actions; otherwise, these individuals would not have been able to take Iranian public assets to Canada so easily,” he said.
“Such issues have not been fully followed up by Iranian authorities, who were simply seeking the extradition of those people through Interpol,” he said.
“The actions by these individuals (embezzlers) amount to an international crime, and Canada’s receiving them is an international crime, too,” he said.
He urged Iranian authorities to file a complaint over Canada’s move and pursue the matter as needed.
“Iran can follow up on this issue through both Canadian courts and international courts at The Hague and in France,” he said.