UK’s debt payment to Iran ‘nothing to do with Zaghari’s case

TEHRAN, Sep. 05 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman said that the issue of paying off Iran’s debt by the UK government has nothing to do with the release of dual-national prisoners.

Saeed Khatibzadeh on Saturday evening pointed to the report suggesting that the British government confirmed its country’s debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran over the purchase of Chieftain tank (before the victory of the Islamic Revolution).

Some are trying to link the payment of the debt to the release of a dual Iranian-British prisoner (Nazanin Zaghari), he said and added, “The British government has a definite 40-year debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran and it does not matter whether this debt is accepted by a British government official or not."

The fact is that the British government has repeatedly delayed the payment of this debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran up to the present time, he continued.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has emphasized through various channels and in all its talks with the British side that this definite debt must be paid by the British government and this has nothing to do with any other issue, Khatibzadeh underlined.

The United Kingdom owes Iran roughly 400 million pounds for Chieftain tanks, which it sold to Tehran in the 1980s but never delivered. 

The case of Ms. Nazanin Zaghari (a dual citizen who is serving her sentence in Iran) has nothing to do with paying off the UK’s debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran, he said and reiterated, “She has served a part of her sentence in Iran and has been released on parole, which has its own judicial process and there is no difference between her and other prisoners.”

Expressing hope that Britain will pay its debt to Iran without delay, he added, "Ms. Zaghari's case has a judicial process and Iranian judiciary is acting independently in this regard.”

“British government's debt to Iran is a definite debt of 40 years and should be paid with all its fines. We are pursuing the case and force the British government to pay its debt to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a convict being held in Iranian prisons for security offenses. Iranian Intelligence authorities arrested Zaghari at the Imam Khomeini International Airport on April 3, 2016, on her way to London where she has been residing after visiting her parents in Tehran. The 39-year-old was arrested after it became clear that she had run an illegal course to recruit and train people for the Persian service of the BBC, which is a major party to the "soft war" being waged by the West against Tehran.

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