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Canadian sanctions against Iranian company don’t cover board member with business interest in B.C.

Canadian sanctions against Iranian company don’t cover board member with business interest in B.C.

An Iranian businessman who owns shares and sits on the board of a non-public Tehran-based firm that has been sanctioned by Canada for co-ordinating the transport of weapons to Russia has a registered firm in British Columbia, The Fifth Property has realized.

Within the newest company data filed in Iran’s official journal, Mohammad Bagher Nahvi is listed as deputy chair of Safiran Airport Providers. 

The cargo and industrial airline is considered one of 5 entities sanctioned by World Affairs Canada (GAC) final November for what the federal authorities says is their function within the Iranian regime’s “gross and systematic human rights violations and actions that proceed to threaten worldwide peace and safety.”

GAC alleges that Safiran “co-ordinated Russian navy flights between Iran and Russia, by means of which the Iranian regime transferred deadly Iranian-made unmanned aerial autos (UAVs) to Russia.”

The U.S. Division of the Treasury sanctioned Safiran Airport Providers in September 2022 for coordinating “Russian navy flights between Iran and Russia, together with these related to transporting Iranian UAVs, personnel, and associated tools from Iran to Russia.”

Nahvi can be listed on the boards of different Iranian firms that seem like a part of the identical Safiran group, together with Safiran Freight and Cargo Providers, which continues to promote delivery companies to Canada on-line. In response to Iranian company governance guidelines, solely shareholders of personal firms could be members of the board, though they don’t seem to be required to reveal the variety of shares they personal.

The Canadian sanctions on Safiran Airport Providers don’t lengthen past the company entity to firm officers and administrators or their households. 

Critics say itemizing solely the corporate limits the effectiveness of the sanctions.

“From a monetary warfare viewpoint, it is sensible that whenever you go after an entity, you go after the executives, you go after the board and also you go after the household of members of the chief and the board,” mentioned Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran sanctions skilled on the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank Basis for Protection of Democracies. 

“If you happen to don’t go after the high-level executives and members of the board, it’s very simple that they’ll go and create a entrance firm and have interaction of their operation. So [sanctioning the corporate entity] creates an issue, but it surely’s not that troublesome to go and exchange that operation beneath one other identify.”

In Canada, Nahvi is listed as considered one of three administrators of Solabest Growth Inc., an energetic firm registered in British Columbia. In company registry paperwork, Nahvi lists a rental unit in Vancouver as his tackle.

Tehran-based Safiran Freight and Cargo Providers, which seems to be a part of the identical Safiran group, continues to promote delivery companies to Canada on-line. (Instagram)

Solabest Growth Inc. was included in B.C. in November 2021 and filed its newest annual return in November 2022, in accordance with the company data.

On Nov. 1, 2022, a person named Ensieh Nahvi was newly listed as one of many three administrators of Solabest Growth Inc. 

The Fifth Property has considered a duplicate of Ensieh Nahvi’s Iranian identification booklet that features the primary identify of her father Mohammad Bagher and his nationwide ID quantity, which matches the nationwide ID quantity for Mohammad Bagher Nahvi on Safiran’s company paperwork.

In response to B.C. property data, Ensieh Nahvi is on the title of a five-bedroom home in North Vancouver bought on Nov. 8, 2022, for almost $4.9 million. The data present Nahvi paid money for the property.

The Vancouver actual property agent who had the itemizing for the home advised The Fifth Property that Mohammad Nahvi personally got here to view it earlier than the acquisition. 

‘My very own asset’

In a phone interview, Ensieh Nahvi denied she was his daughter, saying solely that she was a relative. She mentioned that she comes from a rich household in Iran, that she owned actual property there and bought the North Vancouver home together with her personal cash. 

[The house] is mine with my very own asset,” Ensieh advised The Fifth Property in Persian. “I had a home which I bought. I submitted all of the paperwork to the financial institution.”

She mentioned her household was not related to the federal government of the Islamic Republic and directed questions on Safiran to Mohammad Nahvi.

Mohammad Nahvi didn’t reply to a number of emails, calls and messages requesting an interview for this story.

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A Russian drone is seen throughout a Russian drone strike, which native authorities take into account to be Iranian-made unmanned aerial autos (UAVs) Shahed-136, amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine in Kyiv in October 2022. (Roman Petushkov/Reuters)

Authorities says it’s ‘even handed’ in sanctions

In an e mail to The Fifth Property, GAC mentioned that the federal authorities is “even handed in its method to imposing sanctions, each in opposition to people/entities and in opposition to states” and that the sanctions prohibit Canadians inside and outdoors Canada from having any transactions with Safiran.

“If we truly need our sanctions regime to be efficient, we have to transcend symbolism and we want to consider methods to use sanctions in a means that forces Iranian officers and people affiliated with the regime to alter their behaviour,” mentioned Kaveh Shahrooz, an Iranian-Canadian Lawyer and Senior Fellow on the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. 

“Merely sanctioning an organization will probably not obtain that. What you want to do is put stress on the individuals who run the corporate with a view to get them to alter their behaviour.”

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Law enforcement officials shoot at a drone throughout a Russian drone strike in Kyiv, Ukraine in October 2022. (Vadim Sarakhan/Reuters)

In response to the Iranian regime’s crackdown in opposition to human rights protesters final fall, the Canadian authorities launched quite a few sanctions in opposition to Iranian people and entities. The measures introduced on Oct. 7 additionally earmarked $76 million to “strengthen Canada’s capability to implement sanctions and guarantee we are able to transfer extra shortly to freeze and seize sanctioned people’ property.”

On the time, GAC mentioned it was organising a devoted sanctions bureau within the division and offering further help to the RCMP to analyze and establish property and collect proof.

Brandon Silver, a global human rights lawyer with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Montreal, advised The Fifth Property that Canada’s present laws is broad sufficient to permit the federal government to take significant motion in opposition to firm officers and their members of the family. It comes right down to the federal government’s will to increase the sanctions to people.

“If there’s Canadian complicity by permitting our markets, our banking establishments, our economic system to be leveraged by these companies and people people that actually enable these companies to thrive, we now have to place an finish to that,” Silver mentioned.

WATCH | How the Iranian regime tries to silence dissidents overseas:

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Related sanctions in U.S.

Like Canada, the U.S. didn’t lengthen the sanctions to Safiran officers and administrators or their households. 

Iran sanctions skilled Ghasseminejad believes legal professionals on the U.S. Division of the Treasury are making the decision on how far to increase sanctions in every case. 

“The authorized query is let’s say you need to go after the board – are you able to show that the board is answerable for that motion or not in court docket?”  he advised The Fifth Property

“Board members usually, they will not be conscious of every part – on a regular basis actions. However in lots of international locations I believe that they’re answerable for main choices made by the corporate.”

The U.S. Treasury didn’t reply to questions from The Fifth Property.

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The U.S. Division of the Treasury sanctioned Safiran Airport Providers in September 2022 for co-ordinating ‘Russian navy flights between Iran and Russia.’ (Patrick Semansky/The Related Press)

During the last a number of months, the U.S. authorities has continued to sanction Iranian entities and people for the manufacturing and cargo of lethal drones to Russia.

On Jan. 6, the U.S. Treasury Division sanctioned six executives and board members of Iran’s Qods Aviation Industries for the manufacturing of drones utilized by Russia in its warfare in opposition to Ukraine.

Just lately, U.S. President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser, Jake Sulivan, mentioned that Iranian drones could also be “contributing to widespread warfare crimes” in Ukraine.

“The best way that they’re truly carrying them out bodily makes bodily interdiction a problem,” Sullivan mentioned at a media convention in Mexico Metropolis on Jan. 9, referring to the cargo of drones from Iran to Russia. 

“However we won’t cease at quite a lot of technique of looking for to disrupt this kind of ongoing navy co-operation and to proceed to extend the fee to Iran — within the court docket of public opinion, with respect to financial stress — for deciding to go down a highway the place their weapons are getting used to kill civilians in Ukraine and to attempt to plunge cities into chilly and darkness.”