How Should Canada Deal with the Iranian Regime’s Assets?
On September 9, 2013, the Canadian Government identified some of the Islamic Regime of Iran’s (IRI) assets in Canada, which amount to millions of dollars.
The list of the Islamic Regime’s assets were released by the Department of Foreign Affairs to assist victims who want to collect damages from the IRI due to its support of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
The list of assets is divided in two. The first set are the diplomatic assets, which include the Iranian Chancery, the ambassador’s official residence, the staff headquarters in Ottawa, and two Embassy bank accounts. These diplomatic assets are protected and cannot be claimed by victims of terror.
The second set of assets are non-diplomatic. These include the Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa, a parking spot in Ottawa, 13 bank accounts amounting to 2.6 million dollars, and a visa account in the amount of $325,000 (currently frozen under UN sanctions); these non-diplomatic assets can be awarded to terror victims.
The Canadian Government has taken a step in the right direction by identifying the IRI’s assets. Questions remain, however, about whether what has been identified is the entirety of the assets known to the Canadian government—and whether, indeed, they should be made available to the victims of terror.
There is no mention in the government list of the assets of the former head of Iran’s National Bank (Bank Melli), Mahmoud Reza Khavari, who was the Chairman and Managing Director of Iran’s largest state-owned bank. Bank Melli has been sanctioned by the United States and the European Union for its funding of terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In 2011, after a 2 billion dollar embezzlement scandal, it was discovered that Mr. Khavari was residing in a 3-million-dollar home in Toronto’s affluent Bridle Path neighborhood. Not only was Mr. Khavari residing in Canada, but he had actually obtained Canadian citizenship and brought at least the 3 million dollars necessary for his home purchase, and probably more, into the country. It is difficult to believe that the identity of Mr. Khavari was not known to the Canadian government at the time that he obtained his citizenship. And there are likely many other high ranking IRI affiliates living and investing in Canada; these individuals and their assets have not been identified or frozen by the Canadian Government.
As an Iranian-Canadian pro-democracy activist, I welcome Canada’s attempts to identify and freeze the IRI’s assets, but I am disappointed that our government has chosen to exclude the property of individuals like Mr. Khavari, who have been closely affiliated with the Islamic Regime. Moreover, I am concerned about the IRI’s non-diplomatic assets being made available for victims of terror to claim as compensation. The fact is that these assets do not rightfully belong to the IRI at all; the Regime has no legitimacy, having managed to stay in power for 34 years not through the will of the people but through the use of force, torture, rape, and execution.
By rights, the assets of the IRI belong to the people of Iran and not to its illegitimate government. I submit that these assets should indeed be frozen and should be held in trust by the Government of Canada to be handed over to a democratically-elected government after the overthrow of the Islamic Regime in Iran
Clearly Mr. Simpson is not very well versed on the structure of the Iranian Government. While the president is [s]elected every four years among candidates handpicked by the "Supreme Leader" Khamenei, the government itself which is ruled by Khamenei and is an Islamic dictatorship never changes. Instead it hangs on to power by using force, torture, rape and execution.
The fact that 11 very high profile political prisoners were released from prison recently does not mean there is a new government in Iran or that things have changed. It simply means that sanctions and political pressure on Iran is working to weaken the Regime, and it forcing them to back down. Instead of keeping and open mind the Canadian Government needs to thread very carefully when Rouhani and the Islamic Regime is concerned!
برای انتشار فوری
4 سپتامبر، 2013
قابل توجه: سردبیران مطبوعات
در سحرگاه روز اول سپتامبر 2013 حدود 100 نفر از ساکنان ایرانی کمپ اشرف که از مخالفین نظام جمهوری اسلامی و از اعضای مجاهدین ( سازمان مجاهدین خلق ) هستند با خشونت مورد حمله قرار گرفتند. تعداد 52 تن از آنها به قتل رسیدند و حداقل 7 نفر از ساکنان توسط مهاجمان ربوده شدند. بسیاری از قربانیان یا از جانب سر و یا از ناحیه بالای سینه مورد ضرب گلوله قرار گرفته و کشته شدند در حالیکه دست تعدادی از آنها از پشت سر بسته شده بودند! روایت های مختلفی از این رویداد در رسانه ها در گردش است ولی به نظر می رسد که نیروهای امنیتی عراق این حمله وحشیانه را انجام داده اند .
سایه حسن که یک وکیل کانادایی ایرانی ، وبلاگ نویس و فعال طرفدار دموکراسی است اظهار داشت: " ساکنان کمپ اشرف در سال 2003 خلع سلاح شدند و به آنها موفعیت افراد حفاظت شده تحت کنوانسیون چهارم ژنو داده شده بود. دولت عراق موظف به حفاظت از ساکنان اشرف و تضمین امنیت آنها می باشد . متاسفانه دولت عراق تعهد خود را در حصول اطمینان از ایمنی و امنیت اپوزیسون ساکن کمپ اشرف انجام نداده است .
سایه حسن در ادامه اظهار داشت: " نگرانی بزرگ اینست که در حالی که نیروهای عراقی این حمله را انجام داده اند، دستور خود را از رژیم اسلامی در ایران گرفته اند. رژیم ایران برای انجام حملات و ترور علیه اپوزیسیون ایران به بدنامی شناخته شده است. این را هم باید توجه داشت که این اولین بارنیست که کمپ اشرف با خشونت مورد حمله قرار میگیرد . "
سایه حسن بیان نمود: " در حالی که برخی صحبت از این میکنند که دولت عراق در رابطه با این حمله خشونت آمیزیک تحقیق و تفحص " بی طرف " انجام خواهد داد، این راضی کننده نیست . از آنجا که نیروهای عراقی خود مسئول حمله و قتل بیش از 52 مخالف هستند تحقیقات باید به جای دولت عراق توسط یک شخص ثالث بی طرف صورت گیرد. "
سایه حسن در آخر گفت: " من این حمله خشونت آمیز توسط نیروهای عراقی را محکوم میکنم وبا قربانیان این حمله عمیقا همدردی مینمایم. قتل ساکنان کمپ اشرف باید توسط کانادا و جامعه بین المللی محکوم شود و لازم است یک تحقیق مستقل و بیطرفانه در مورد این کشتار انجام شود ".
تماس برای رسانه ها : سایه حسن، وکیل جنایی دفاع، بلاگر، فعال طرفدار دموکراسی
تلفن : 9238-363-416 Email: Sayehhassan30@gmail.com Blog: www.shiro-khorshid-forever.blogspot.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2013
Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political News Editor
On September 1st 2013 about 100 Iranian Camp Ashraf residents who are dissidents and members of Mujahedin-e-Khalg (MEK) were violently attacked and as many as 52 of them were murdered while at least 7 of the residents were held hostage by the attackers. Many of the victims were either shot in the head or in the upper chest area and a number of them had their hands tied behind their backs! While different accounts of the event have been circulating in the media it appears as though it was the Iraqi security forces who carried out this brutal attack.
Sayeh Hassan an Iranian Canadian lawyer, blogger and pro-democracy activist stated “The residents of Camp Ashraf were disarmed in 2003 and were given the status of Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Iraqi Government has an obligation to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf and guarantee their safety. Unfortunately the Iraqi Government has not carried out its obligation in ensuring the safety and security of the dissidents of Camp Ashraf.
Sayeh Hassan Further stated: “There is great concern that while the Iraqi forces carried out the attack, the order itself came from the Islamic Regime in Iran. The Regime in Iran is notorious for carrying out attacks and assassinations against Iranian opposition. It must also be noted that this is not the first time that Camp Ashraf has been violently attacked.”
Sayeh Hassan expressed: “While there has been some discussion that the Iraqi government will carry out an “impartial” investigation with respect to this violent attack, this is not satisfactory. Since the Iraqi forces themselves were responsible for the attack and the murder of more than 52 dissidents the investigation must be carried out by an impartial third party, rather than the Iraqi Government.”
Sayeh Hassan lastly stated: “ I condiment this violent attack by Iraqi forces and deeply sympathize with the victims of this attack. The murder of Camp Ashraf residents must be condemned by Canada and the International Community, and there must be an independent and impartial investigation into the deaths.
Media Contact: Sayeh Hassan, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Blogger, Pro-Democracy Activist
I am very disturbed to hear about the tragic news coming out of Camp Ashraf in Iraq! According to various news sources at least 47 individuals at Camp Ashraf have been killed after a attack to the Camp Ashraf. There are various allegations flying around with respect to who is responsible for these attacks. Is it the Iraqi forces or the Al Quds Iranian forces? There is no question that an immediate investigation must be conducted with respect to who is responsible for this senseless violence. I condemn the violence against activists in Camp Ashraf notwithstanding the fact that I do not agree or support the ideology or the policy of MEK.
This is a good time to remember that if we don't speak up today against this violent atrocity tomorrow it may become our turn... and at that point there may be no one left to speak on our behalf