Under a 2012 law, Canadian courts awarded victims of Hamas and Hezbollah attacks all of Iran’s non-diplomatic assets in Canada. With the payments about to be made, Iran has made itself available to the courts in an effort to have the judgments thrown out, though it had formerly refused to participate in the proceedings.

“To do this,” said Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, “they will benefit from the legal system of an open and democratic country like Canada while at the same time suppressing human rights defenders, jailing lawyers and demonstrating virtually no respect for the rule of law at home.”