Iran’s top diplomat said the UK has no option but to settle a four-decade £450m debt to Iran, as Iran has sued the country for dragging its feet to repay the debt and it has achieved good results.
“The English government has for 40 years dragged its feet over resolving the debt to the Iranian people. The case is going through the legal process and we have achieved good results,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
Speaking to Hamshahri daily in an interview published on Monday, Zarif said the English government can no longer delay the settlement and it has no option but to pay their debt to the Iranian people.
The £450m debt by the UK is related to 1974 and 1976 arms deal, under which Iran’s shah bought hundreds of Chieftain tanks and other military vehicles from a British state-run firm.
Britain received an advance payment from Iran and delivered some tanks in the next few years, but it stopped adhering to its commitments after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that brought down the US-backed monarch.
After the revolution, the British firm even sold a part of Iran’s order to the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Afterwards, Iran lodged a complaint to the International Court of Arbitration in the Hague, who found the British side guilty for failing to fulfil its commitments 2001.
Too Soon to Predict Changes in Saudi Policy
Asked about his view on the replacement of Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Zarif said it too soon for a predication on whether the change would affect misguided policies of Saudi Arabia in the region.
“Time is not ripe for such a prediction. There are signals against [change in Saudi policy]. We should wait to see,” he said.
Zarif said Iran is ready to welcome such a change in the Saudi policy, as it’s never late for the country to correct mistakes.
“It would be to the benefit of Saudi Arabia, the region and the world if there are changes in Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and the country’s policy is shaped based on realities,” he said.
Last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman replaced al-Jubier with former finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf in a royal decree.