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Canada dragged by Iran to the International Court of Justice for designating Tehran as a terrorism-sponsoring state

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced on Wednesday that Iran has taken Canada to the court, accusing it of violating Tehran’s state immunity by designating it as a state that sponsors terrorism. The dispute stems from Canada’s 2012 listing of Iran as a sponsor of terrorism, which coincided with the severing of diplomatic ties, closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran, and expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Canada.

The ICJ, based in The Hague, stated that Iran has accused Canada of various diplomatic, political, and legal measures that allegedly violated its immunities following the 2012 terrorism listing. Iran argues that Canada is obligated to respect its jurisdictional immunity under international law and should not allow civil claims against Iran related to terrorism support or acts.

Iran specifically objects to Canadian court rulings that resulted in Iranian assets being turned over to victims of attacks attributed to Tehran-sponsored groups, considering it a breach of international law. The ICJ confirmed that Iran initiated legal proceedings against Canada on Tuesday, raising allegations of immunities violations by the Canadian government.

In its filing to the court, Iran stated that Canada has adopted legislative, executive, and judicial measures against Iran and its property, violating its international obligations. Iran seeks compensation for the “violation of its international obligations” and requests the ICJ to annul all judgments against Tehran in Canadian courts.

Canada has not yet responded to Iran’s case. The situation mirrors Iran’s longstanding claim against the United States at the ICJ, where Iran sought to unfreeze billions of dollars in assets as compensation for terrorist attacks.

In 2016, a Canadian judge ordered non-diplomatic properties and bank accounts belonging to Iran in Canada to be awarded to victims of attacks carried out by Hamas and Hezbollah. According to reports, $13 million was awarded to the families of Americans who were killed in bombings and hostage-takings between 1983 and 2002 in Buenos Aires, Israel, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.


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