The British government has, for the first time, publicly admitted that it owes £400 million in debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The debt arose from a contract the Shah’s regime had signed with Britain in 1971 to purchase 1750 Chieftain tanks and other military vehicles.
Payment was made in advance but the equipment was never delivered.
The arms deal was made through International Military Services (IMS), a subsidiary of the British Ministry of Defense.
After the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the deal was cancelled and the Islamic Republic demanded refund of its money.
The British refused to repay.
At first, they even denied that there was any such deal.
Iran took the matter to court and in 2008, an international tribunal ruled that Britain must repay Iran’s debt.
Yet, the British government has continued to drag its feet until recently.
Iranian media outlets reported that “Last March Iran’s Ambassador to the UK Hamid Ba’eidinejad announced that London had agreed to pay the £400 million debt it owes to Tehran plus the interest.”
He was further quoted as saying “that the two sides were negotiating ways how the payment could be made.”
Public acknowledgement of British debt was made in a letter by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that The Guardian newspaper reported it had seen.
Quoting the British defence czar, the London daily wrote: “With regard to IMS Ltd and the outstanding legal dispute the government acknowledges there is a debt to be paid and continues to explore every legal avenue for the lawful discharge of that debt.”
Wallace was further quoted: “I have previously stated my personal position and I remain committed to its resolution, but it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this time.”
Even before his appointment to the cabinet, Wallace had been critical of the government’s delay in settling its debt, describing it as “un-British, double-dealing and obfuscatory”.
The British regime, however, is trying to link repayment of its debt—a legal obligation—with securing the release of Iranian-British subjects held by Iran on spying charges.
Among the detainees is Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe, that Iran is holding for plotting the overthrow of the Islamic government.
Since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, people of Iranian origin that left the country and then returned to act as spies, have been arrested, charged and sentenced under Iranian law.
The Islamic Republic does not recognize dual citizenship.
Thus, people of Iranian origin must travel on an Iranian passport to enter the Islamic Republic and are, therefore, subject to Iran’s law.
In withholding Iran’s money for nearly 50 years, the British government has tried to negotiate the release of these spies, an attempt Tehran has categorically rejected.
Western regimes have a habit of stealing other countries’ money and then dragging the cases through courts for decades.
Such cases cost millions of dollars for victim countries.
Among the mega Western thieves are Britain, France and the US.
Between them, they are withholding tens of billions of dollars of Iranian wealth.