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Iranian elites denounce Britain's fake ownership claim over Tehran's Qolhak Garden

Tehran, July 24, IRNA - A university professor and international laws expert, an MP, and a judiciary official here Monday denounced Britain's fake ownership claim over a vast, beautiful garden in northern Tehran, called Qolhak Garden.

They were three of the speakers at a conference, titled "Surveying Jurisdiction & Legal Aspects of Britain's Seizing of Qolhak Garden."

University professor and international law expert, Qassem Sha'bani focusing on Iran's move aimed at regaining Qolhak Garden, said, "This garden is not subject to the international laws regarding diplomatic properties, including the 1961 Convention."

Emphasizing that he is not going to approach the matter from a political, and non-legal point of the view, he said, "The colonialists have on countless occasions cheated our nation and looted our country, many examples of which are recorded in our history."

Pointing out that no one is legally allowed to gift, or sell to other person something that does not belong to him, Sha'bani reiterated, "We have to see who gave this garden to the British, and whether he was the real owner of it, or not at the time."

The university professor said, regardless of the question whether the Qajar Dynasty kings were legally allowed to give away patches of Iran's land to foreigners, or not, I argue that from the point of view of our civil and jurisprudence laws there are four ways for transferring land ownership, the most important of which include reviving a barren land, inheriting a property, or obtaining it through a legally permitted transaction of different types."

He said that in only authentic document that the British present as proof for their ownership of this garden Nasereddin Shah of Qajar Dynasty has written that they can reside there, which is by no means transferring the garden's ownership to them in any way."

Referring to the hue and cry raised in British media for taking revenge by seizing Iranian properties in England, such as those in Manchester, he said, "If there is the rule of laws in England, let them act in accordance with them, and do so if they can, but is what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan today legal?

Member of Parliament Ali Asgari, too, said, "There is no legal, jurisdiction, or ownership proof on Britain's ownership of Qolhak Garden, and the Shi'a sources of jurisprudence do not approve of such ownerships."

He even put under question the ownership of the British over the vast lands of their embassy in Tehran, arguing, "The British used to have a small embassy in a southern district of Tehran, which they traded in for the vast garden in then north-most, most prestigious district of Tehran, in Ferdowsi Street in the year 1907.

Hojjatoleslam Asgari added, "After that the Shah of Iran gave a 15 hectare land to the British to take advantage of it, which by no means connotes the meaning of their ownership over it."

A former consultant of Judiciary Chief, and law university professor, Abdolhashem Ya'qoubi, too, said at the conference, "The legal ways for regaining the Qolhak Garden from its illegal occupiers are quite clear: the Iranian courts of justice, that are legitimate sources for surveying the matter."

Ya'qoubi stressed, "Even the so claimed Naserddin Shah's letter based on which the British try to document their seizure of this patch of Iran's land is fake, since it neither has the signature of that monarch, nor his stamp, that were the two major characteristics of such letters.

He bore further proof for his argument in that regard, saying, "In their request filed at the Iranian Registrar's Office for the ownership of that garden the British have refrained from presenting Naserddin Shah's letter, exactly to the same reasons."

According to IRNA reporter at the conference, despite the event's sponsors' official invitation from the British Ambassador to Tehran to attend the meeting and to present authentic proof for his affiliated government's claim, he refrained from doing so.

... Payvand News - 7/24/07 ... --

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