Ontario court rules cultural centres exposed by Maclean’s are Iranian fronts

The Ontario Superior Court has issued a restraining order against Iran’s property in Canada, as the family of an American woman killed by Hamas seeks to collect on a U.S. court judgment totalling almost $13 million.

Marla Bennett, a 24-year-old graduate student and American citizen, was killed in a 2002 bomb attack in Jerusalem for which Hamas claimed responsibility. A U.S. court ruled that Hamas is an Iranian proxy and ordered Iran to pay the money to Bennett’s parents and sister.

Because the plaintiffs were unable to collect on Iranian assets in America, they are seeking to do so in Canada — which is why the Canadian properties have been frozen, preventing their sale or transfer. 

Three properties have been frozen. The first is the official Iranian embassy on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa.

The second is a house at 290 Sheppard Avenue West in Toronto that portrayed itself as an independent research and cultural centre. Maclean’s exposed it as an Iranian front in 2010.

The third is the Iranian Cultural Centre at 2 Robinson Avenue in Ottawa. Its land registration paperwork was designed to make it look independent, but the centre functioned as a satellite wing of the Iranian embassy. Conservative Senator Don Meredith’s office professed to be fooled.