TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Foreign Ministry rejected a Canadian court’s ruling that has upheld a previous decision by an American court ordering Tehran to pay the legal costs of victims of what it has called Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks, saying it breaches the immunity of states from lawsuits.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Tuesday denounced the Ontario court ruling as unacceptable, saying it runs counter to the principles of the international law and violates the immunity of sovereign states.
"Basically, the issuance of court rulings against a foreign government runs counter to the principle of equality of states and violates their immunity as stipulated in international law," the Foreign Ministry’s website quoted him as saying.
"Regardless of the division of government branches in Canada, the Ottawa government will be directly responsible for any possible material or spiritual loss (incurred by Iran) as a result of such moves by different branches of the Canadian government,” Qassemi added.
The spokesman finally stressed that Iran reserves the right to protest the ruling.
His comments came after Ontario’s Court of Appeal on Monday night upheld a previous ruling that requires Iran to pay around $1.7 billion in damages to “American victims of terrorism.”
Rejecting Iran’s request to reconsider the ruling, the court argued that doing so would amount to a breach of Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (JVTA).
The JVTA allows victims of terrorism to sue foreign states for damages.
The new case was brought by families of Americans citizens who had been killed in a series of attacks between 1980s and 2002, mostly blamed on Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements Hamas and Hezbollah.
The families claimed that the Iranian government supported the two organizations and was therefore responsible for their actions.
The complaints were first filed in the US but the claimants turned to Canada after finding out that the Iranian government had more properties and bank accounts there.
A one-story house in Toronto, an industrial building in Ottawa and two bank accounts were among the assets that were sought in the case.
Without offering further elaboration, the court also claimed in its ruling that Iran was seeking to “frustrate” the JVTA’s implementation.