Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani said Western governments and their media outlets try to link such issues with financial matters between countries.
“Countries’ debts to Iran have nothing to do with judicial issues, and the [Iranian] judicial system simply deals with elements of infiltration regardless of their nationality and within the framework of the law,” he said.
Ayatollah Amoli Larijani was referring to a £400-million debt related to an arms deal signed during the 1970s.
Iran has demanded that Britain return the money which the former Shah of Iran paid in 1979 for 1,750 Chieftain tanks and other vehicles, almost none of which was eventually delivered.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Judiciary chief referred to the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British woman jailed in Iran for espionage, and urged foreign officials to set aside arrogance in this regard.
“Some time ago, the British Foreign Secretary [Jeremy Hunt] had, in an arrogant tone, warned the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran not to imprison dual-national individuals,” said the Judiciary chief.
“Authorities such as the UK foreign secretary should know that they are not in a position to warn the branches of the Islamic Establishment over how to fulfill their responsibilities,” he said.
Larijani then made it clear that having dual nationality is not an offence in Iran, and that individuals are not imprisoned and prosecuted simply because of having dual nationality.
“The persons in question have acted against [national] security in our country, or have committed acts of espionage, and their prosecution is because of having committed such crimes and has nothing to do with their dual nationality,” he noted.
“The West should also know that its investment to infiltrate [into the country] is to no avail, and the Judiciary will not back down from its position in the face of such pressures and baseless remarks,” the Judiciary chief noted.
British media earlier reported that the UK government was trying to transfer the £400 million debt to Iran in order to secure the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe. However, Iran has categorically denied the allegation, saying the two issues have nothing to do with each other.