Oct 7, 2019, 11:52 PM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83507674
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Iran accuses UK of delaying overdue payment of Chieftain tanks

London, Oct 7, IRNA - Iran accuses UK of hampering efforts and delaying the payment of Iran’s debt that dates back to more than 40 years ago. 

“The legal counsel of the UK Defense Ministry subsidiary company resorts to all possible procedural tactics and lawyerism to delay the payment of Iran’s debt,” tweeted Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s Ambassador to the UK on Monday. 

He was referring to debt, or court award, that originated from the non-delivery of contracts to the Iranian ministry of defense (Modsaf) of Chieftain tanks dating back to before 1979.

The UK refused to complete the contract after the Shah was deposed, even though Iran had paid the money fully in advance. 

The marathon court battle is meant to enforce an international court order dating back to 2012 awarding Iran £400m over the UK’s government’s non-completion of the contract to provide Iran with Chieftain tanks.

The UK has put nearly £500m into court as a surety for the award, but insists it cannot make the payment, let alone pay any interest accrued since 2008, on the grounds that Modsaf is a sanctioned entity.

Iran has two major routes left to unlock the cash put into court by the UK. The first is a request to the Treasury’s office of sanctions implementation (OFSI) to accept voluntarily that the £400m can be paid to the Central Bank of Iran and not to Modsaf. The Central Bank is not an EU-sanctioned entity.

Iran lodged its appeal in writing two years ago, but no ruling has emerged from the OFSI.

“Pursuant to such efforts, the court decided TODAY to convene its next substantive session after 6 months, in March 2020,” added the Iranian envoy to the UK in his tweet. 

Iran is due to seek a UK court judgment in a case set for March directing the UK to pay the £400m award into the coffers of the Central Bank. Lawyers for the UK government in court made clear to Justice Phillips that they will resist any requirement to pay the money to the Central Bank either in cash or kind since the ultimate beneficiary will in effect be Modsaf (Ministry of Defence and Support for Armed Forces Logistics).

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