A number of Iranian nationals living in Britain have rejected the reports about the closure of their accounts in UK banks, expressing concern over the spread of such rumours which can tarnish their reputation and lead to the creation of growing distrust towards them.
Following the spread of rumours and news in a number of Iranian media outlets, fuelled by The Guardian’s Friday (April 21) report claiming that there has been a continuation in the closure of the Iranian nationals’ accounts in the UK banks since US President Donald Trump assumed office, a wave of astonishment and ambiguity has washed over through the Iranian immigrants living legally in the European state.
According to a Farsi report by IRNA, they have expressed concern over the getting around of such rumours and untrue news, saying that they can create growing distrust towards them and tarnish their reputation.
The Guardian reported on Friday that a UK law firm handling dozens of complaints by Iranian nationals who have had their bank accounts in Britain closed because of their nationality, says closures continue despite the lifting of economic sanctions.
Blackstone Solicitors that represents a number of Iranians has reported a continuation in such closures since US President Donald Trump assumed office on January 20.
Expressing concern over some of Iran’s domestic media publishing such reports, a number of the Iranian nationals residing in Britain rejected the veracity of the news report and said their accounts are active.
On Friday, quoting Rokhsareh Vahid, the head of the Iran desk at Blackstone, The Guardian wrote: “In the past two or three months, more people have come to us to instruct us to act on their behalf because of their bank account closures. In total we have more than 60 cases involving Iranians who have sued banks over racial discrimination.”
Vahid said her firm has secured compensation in most of those cases, often as the result of pre-trial settlements. “I only recall one case which was not successful,” she said. “A lot of such settlements include non-disclosure agreements, so we won’t be able to publicise them.”
The Guardian added an Iranian student in Greater Manchester represented by Blackstone received a five-figure compensation from RBS in July 2016, adding it is not publishing his name to protect his identity.
After Blackstone had been first contacted by the student a week before the scheduled closure of his account, they immediately contacted RBS demanding that their client’s rights are recognised.
The firm said, “We proceeded to file a complaint against the bank and pursued it until our client recovered a total of £31,200 from RBS in July 2016.”
The payment included £15,000 compensation for emotional injury and £16,200 in respect of costs of the claim.
According to The Guardian report, after paying the compensation, the bank’s spokesperson said, “We are unable to comment on specific customers or decisions made in relation to individual accounts. However, in line with our legal and regulatory obligations, we do not close customers’ accounts because of their race and strongly refute any suggestion that we do so.”
IRNA’s report says the UK banks have never closed Iranian accounts due to their nationality and will not make such a move in the future.
If what The Guardian reported is not as serious as it seems, it can be part of a plot to influence the upcoming presidential election due to be held on May 19 in Iran.