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 discovered.
Within the newest company data filed in Iran’s official journal, Mohammad Bagher Nahvi is listed as deputy chair of Safiran Airport Companies.
The cargo and business airline is one in all 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 army flights between Iran and Russia, by which the Iranian regime transferred deadly Iranian-made unmanned aerial automobiles (UAVs) to Russia.”
The U.S. Division of the Treasury sanctioned Safiran Airport Companies in September 2022 for coordinating “Russian army 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 corporations that seem like a part of the identical Safiran group, together with Safiran Freight and Cargo Companies, which continues to promote delivery companies to Canada on-line. In keeping with Iranian company governance guidelines, solely shareholders of personal corporations might 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 Companies don’t prolong 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 smart that while 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,” stated Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran sanctions skilled on the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank Basis for Protection of Democracies.
“In case you do not go after the high-level executives and members of the board, it’s totally simple that they’ll go and create a entrance firm and have interaction of their operation. So [sanctioning the corporate entity] creates an issue, however it’s not that tough to go and exchange that operation below one other identify.”
In Canada, Nahvi is listed as one in all three administrators of Solabest Improvement Inc., an energetic firm registered in British Columbia. In company registry paperwork, Nahvi lists a apartment unit in Vancouver as his deal with.
Solabest Improvement Inc. was included in B.C. in November 2021 and filed its newest annual return in November 2022, in line with the company data.
On Nov. 1, 2022, a person named Ensieh Nahvi was newly listed as one of many three administrators of Solabest Improvement Inc.
The Fifth Property has considered a replica of Ensieh Nahvi’s Iranian id 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 keeping with 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 instructed 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 stated that she comes from a rich household in Iran, that she owned actual property there and bought the North Vancouver home along with her personal cash.
[The house] is mine with my very own asset,” Ensieh instructed The Fifth Property in Persian. “I had a home which I offered. I submitted all of the paperwork to the financial institution.”
She stated 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.
Authorities says it’s ‘even handed’ in sanctions
In an e mail to The Fifth Property, GAC stated that the federal authorities is “even handed in its strategy 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 use sanctions in a means that forces Iranian officers and people affiliated with the regime to vary their behaviour,” stated Kaveh Shahrooz, an Iranian-Canadian Lawyer and Senior Fellow on the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
“Merely sanctioning an organization will probably not obtain that. What it’s worthwhile to do is put stress on the individuals who run the corporate to be able to get them to vary their behaviour.”
In response to the Iranian regime’s crackdown in opposition to human rights protesters final fall, the Canadian authorities launched a lot of 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’ belongings.”
On the time, GAC stated it was establishing a devoted sanctions bureau within the division and offering extra help to the RCMP to research and determine belongings and collect proof.
Brandon Silver, a world human rights lawyer with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Montreal, instructed 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 financial system to be leveraged by these firms and people people that basically permit these firms to thrive, we have now to place an finish to that,” Silver stated.
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Related sanctions in U.S.
Like Canada, the U.S. didn’t prolong 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 to illustrate you need to go after the board – are you able to show that the board is accountable for that motion or not in court docket?” he instructed The Fifth Property.
“Board members generally, they is probably not conscious of all the pieces – on a regular basis actions. However in lots of international locations I feel that they’re accountable for main choices made by the corporate.”
The U.S. Treasury didn’t reply to questions from The Fifth Property.
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 conflict in opposition to Ukraine.
Lately, U.S. President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser, Jake Sulivan, stated that Iranian drones could also be “contributing to widespread conflict crimes” in Ukraine.
“The best way that they’re truly carrying them out bodily makes bodily interdiction a problem,” Sullivan stated at a media convention in Mexico Metropolis on Jan. 9, referring to the cargo of drones from Iran to Russia.
“However we is not going to cease at a wide range of technique of looking for to disrupt this kind of ongoing army co-operation and to proceed to extend the price to Iran — within the court docket of public opinion, with respect to financial stress — for deciding to go down a street the place their weapons are getting used to kill civilians in Ukraine and to attempt to plunge cities into chilly and darkness.”