Breaking: UK must take practical steps to pay off debt to Iran: Defense minister
Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said Britain must take practical steps to pay off its standing debt to Iran.
According to Press TV, he made the remark following recent statements by his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, who told Times Radio that it was “absolutely right” that “we should honor” the country’s debt, which is estimated to be as much as £400 million ($551 million), arising from the non-delivery of tanks ordered by Iran’s ousted monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
“Although Ben Wallace, the British secretary of defense, has reiterated the need to clear the payments of military agreements between the two sides and the need to pay the debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran after 42 years, there is always a gap between the British authorities’ position and practical will,” Hatami said on Tuesday.
Referring to court rulings and contractual obligations, Hatami said the restrictions arising from the United States’ “unjust” sanctions imposed on Tehran were not the main reason for the UK’s failure to pay off the debt.
The defense minister stressed that the British government should settle the issue through mechanisms previously discussed during talks between the two countries.
International Military Services (IMS), a subsidiary of the British Ministry of Defense, signed contracts in 1971 to sell more than 1,750 Chieftain tanks and armored vehicles to Iran. The deals were canceled after Pahlavi was deposed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but Iran had already paid for the undelivered tanks and demanded its money back.
An international arbitration in 2008 ruled that the UK owed the debt, but it has not been paid off yet.