“This money is definitely and completely in Iran’s possession and the manner of spending the repaid sum is completely subject to the decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the British side or any other party has no right to intervene in this matter,” Khatibzadeh stated.
He made the comment after the British government paid over half a billion dollars to Iran to settle a debt related to a military equipment contract including 1,750 Chieftain tanks that Iran’s Pahlavi regime paid up front for, but Britain refused to deliver them after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Khatibzadeh also dismissed certain media reports that the sum still remains with a Swiss bank.
Khatibzadeh praised Iranian diplomats for succeeding in returning the sum to Iran’s treasury despite decades of obstructionism by Britain.
“Our representatives were able to compel the British authorities to acknowledge the need to pay the debt, following a legal process in the relevant courts and political pressure on the British government. It was on this basis that in recent years the British foreign and defense secretaries, as well as the British prime minister, had to acknowledge the debt,” the foreign ministry spokesman explained.
Khatibzadeh also said there was no connection between the debt settlement and the release of two British-Iranian nationals jailed for involvement in espionage activities against the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile, an informed source has said Britain repaid over half a million dollars to settle its debt principal and the interest via Oman’s central bank.