Iran’s defense minister said on Tuesday that the UK must take practical steps to pay its debt over failed delivery of more than 1750 tanks and armored vehicles to Iran which was ordered by Tehran back in 1979.
Brigadier General Amir Hatami made the remarks in reaction to recent comments by the British defense minister Ben Wallace who has stressed the necessity to pay his country’s debt to the Iranian government.
The UK debt to Iran arose from the non-delivery of 1,500 Chieftain Tanks and 250 other armored vehicles ordered by the then Shah of Iran before his overthrow in 1979.
The Iranian minister said that there has always been a distance between the stands taken by British officials and their practical resolve.
Referring to court rulings and contractual obligations, Hatami said that the restrictions arising from arbitrary sanctions are not the main reason for the non-payment of the UK debt.
He said that the Iranian nation wants the British government to settle the issue through mechanisms previously discussed by both sides.
In January 2019, a top court in Britain has dismissed a complaint lodged by Iran seeking at least £20 million in interest for a debt related to the defense deals. Judge Stephen Phillips from the High Court in London ruled that the UK does not have to pay the sum that Iran believes has accrued on £387 million owed to Tehran over the failed delivery of more than 1,500 Chieftain tanks and armored vehicles based on contracts signed as of 1971.
Britain has repeatedly refrained from paying the debt it acknowledges it owes to Iran, citing illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran.
Newly-appointed Prime Minister Boris Johnson once briefed the journalists in February 2018 after a trip to Tehran as foreign minister that the money will be paid back.
However, the payment never took place to the irritation of Tehran.