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Sayeh hassan
photo by Rhonda Spivak


by Rhonda spivak, October 19, 2011, update November 1

UPDATE NOV , 2011:  Tewo weeks ago I wrote ana rticle below about  the fact that  Mahmoud Reza Khavari , who was the managing director of Bank Meli in Iran, is now in Canada. On November 1, there was a  recent article in the Jerusaelm Post by  Avi Jorish, which outlines the steps canada ought to be taking  against him.

Jorish is a is a former US Treasury official and on the Advisory Board of United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI). Here's what he says should be done, since Khavari has valuable information about Iran's drive to go nuclear :

"'There are a number of steps Canadian authorities can take immediately. First, Khavari is apparently in violation of the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations for having worked and provided financial services on behalf of a designated Canadian entity. In all likelihood, Khavari is also in violation of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act, along with Part II.1 of the Criminal Code (Section 83.05). This section has provisions that prohibit the financing of terrorism. It also lists individuals or entities which, there are reasonable grounds to believe, have participated in or facilitated terrorist activity, or knowingly acted on behalf of, or associated with, an entity involved in terrorism.

"Under Section 83.05, Canadian authorities may even have the right to freeze Khavari’s assets.

'Canada should make a legal determination regarding whether to freeze his assets in the country. Once they have done this, authorities might be able to uncover the full extent of Bank Melli’s involvement in Iran’s proliferation of nuclear weapons and terrorism financing.

Khavari possesses critical information on Iran’s banking network and the extent to which Iran abuses the international financial sector for illicit purposes. The intelligence gathered from Khavari should be shared with international partners both on a bilateral basis and at the UN Security Council.

While Canada has certainly been a staunch ally of members of the international community that have tried to implement sanctions against Iran to stop its nuclearization, it does appear that Canada is out of compliance with international law in this case. According to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, all member states are obligated to blacklist Bank Sepah. Canadian lawmakers, and in particular, the governor in council, should rectify this loophole as quickly as possible; Bank Sepah was blacklisted by the UN as far back as March 2007.

Through existing legislation, the Canadian government has made it clear that there is a cost for doing business with Iran.

Going forward, Canadian policymakers should move expeditiously in regard to Khavari. As one of Iran’s top bankers, he could be of great use to any nation that is intent on stopping Iran from getting the bomb.


by Rhonda spivak, October 19, 2011  

The Canadian-Iranian blogger “Winston,” who writes at The Spirit of Man website, drew attention to this important story. 

About three weeks ago, the news broke in the Iranian press of an embezzlement scandal. Three billion dollars went missing from an Iranian bank, the largest single instance of embezzlement in a regime where graft is commonplace.

Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the managing director of Bank Melli, has fled to Canada. The Washington Post provides further context regarding the scope of the embezzlement, those involved, and how they link into other Iranian political scandals.

As  Michal Rubin, writing in Commentary Magazine has said,  what the Washington Post does not mention is that Bank Melli has been involved in the transfer of funds to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah through the Qods Force, as well as Iran’s nuclear program. Bank Melli was among the Iranian financial institutions which the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned in 2007.

The Globe and Mail, reported that Khavari, who resigned amid this "massive embezzlement scandal, one that has soured the political fortunes of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is reported to be in the Toronto area – where a $3-million home is owned in his name."

"The scandal is described as the biggest fraud in that country’s history. The amounts of money involved exceed even the $2-billion loss the Swiss bank UBS recently sustained due to a rogue trader."

The article in the  Globe and Mail gives a lot of background and is worth a read

The question that pro-democracy Canadian Iranians, and many others, have been asking is why it is that  Khavari has been allowed to live in Canada when it is very clear that he has been linked ot the Iranian teroro machine.

As Sayeh Hassan, a Canadian Iranian lawyer told the  Winnipeg Jewis Review on October 18, 2011

"Basically he [Khavari] was the head of Melli Bank in Iran which is the largest bank  in Iran and has been sanctioned by US as well as UN for funding nuclear programs and funding terrorist organizations like  Hamas. Obviously since he was the head of the bank, one can only suspect his involvement...It's been all over the news lately and the Canadian Gov. refuses to make any comment. As concerned Canadians we musturge  theCanadian Government to re-open Khavari's immigration file, revoke his [Canadian] citizenship and freeze all his assets in Canada.

Hassan adds, "High ranking individuals within the dictatorship's regime should not be allowed to use Canada as a safe haven."

Hassan has made a   video  report in front of  Khavari's home  in Toronto. To go to the English section, start the video at  the 5 minute



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.