Ambassador slams UK for delaying to pay Iran’s debt

October 8, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad has criticized Britain’s Defense Ministry for its delays in paying Iran’s debt for a series of defense deals signed between the two countries before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“The legal counsel of the UK Defense Ministry subsidiary company, resorts to all possible procedural tactics and lawyerism to delay the payment of Iran’s debt,” Baeidinejad said in a tweet on Monday evening.

“Pursuant to such efforts, the court decided TODAY to convene its next substantive session after 6 months, in March 2020,” he added.

In July, a top court in Britain dismissed a complaint lodged by Iran seeking at least £20 million in interest for a debt related to the defense deals, Tasnim reported.

Judge Stephen Phillips from the High Court in London ruled that the UK does not have to pay the sum that Iran believes has accrued on £387 million owed to Tehran over the failed delivery of more than 1,500 Chieftain tanks and armored vehicles based on contracts signed as of 1971.

The ruling dealt a fresh blow to efforts meant to reduce tensions between Iran and Britain as the two countries are locked in several disputes, including two recent ship seizure incidents and a high-profile legal case related to the imprisonment of dual nationals.

Britain has repeatedly refrained from paying the debt it acknowledges it owes to Iran, citing illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson once briefed the journalists in February 2018 after a trip to Tehran as foreign minister that the money will be paid back.

Last month, former British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said his country would obey a court order to repay £400m to Iran, if the precise sum owed is agreed.

“Our policy as the British government had always been absolutely clear. We are a law-abiding government, so if there is a court order that says that this money has to be paid ... then we obey the law,” Hunt said.

“The court process is still continuing, it is still deciding the exact amount that has to be paid,” he added.

MH/PA

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