Why does Britain owe Iran £400 million? Debt Explained When Nazanin Is Released – World News

Never-before-seen tanks are at the heart of a 43-year-old financial dispute between Britain and Iran. Iranian news agencies have reported that the release of British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is linked to a debt of 400 million pounds.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is said to be on his way to freedom after six years in prison
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is on her way to freedom after six years in captivity

After intense negotiations, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was finally freed from her Iranian captivity, where she had been since 2016.

British-Iranian citizen, Nazanin was arrested on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government while she was visiting family with her one-year-old daughter.

Her passport was returned to her earlier this week and she will be flying home to the UK on a government chartered flight.

News of her release comes as welcome relief for Britons – none other than Nazanin’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who has been on a three-week hunger strike in autumn 2021 when he sees petitioned the British government to do more to get her released.

But behind Nazanin’s arrest is the small matter of £400m in debt that the Iranian government claims is owed by the UK.

Why does Britain owe Iran £400 million?

Nazanin, pictured before his captivity with his daughter Gabriella, has been the victim of an ongoing international dispute



The UK owes Iran for failing to deliver a tank order to Iran in the 1970s.

On Sunday, March 13, 2022, Iranian state media said the debt had been paid – a claim that has not been verified by the UK.

The tanks themselves were promised to the Shah of Iran in 1979, who was then dramatically overthrown by a new Islamic republic. Britain delivered only 185 of the 1,500 tanks promised at the time of the fall of the old government to the revolutionaries.

When the new government insisted the UK needed to repay the money for the undelivered tanks, the UK said it owed the old government, not the new.

In 2009, an international arbitration court ruled that the UK was in fact owed to the new government as a ‘successary country’.

However, international sanctions against Iran mean that this debt cannot be repaid without breaking the law – leading to a diplomatic spat unfolding before our eyes today, which could make Nazanin and her family the ultimate victims.

On Monday, foreign secretary James Cleverly told BBC Radio 4’s Today Program: “The situation regarding … military contracts from the 1970s have spanned decades, those negotiations are ongoing. They’ve lasted a while, sadly, but they’re still ongoing.

Nazanin says she was visiting family in Iran while she was detained – a country she has citizenship in alongside the UK



“There is a legal process attached to this. Iran most recently withdrew from that legal process, which of course has put things on hold.

“We’re looking at ways to tackle a problem that’s been a problem for decades.”

How are Nazanin and 400 million pounds related?

Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe believes her imprisonment was leverage in Iran’s efforts to recover cash, which the British government staunchly denies.

“There are two completely separate issues,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson, an opinion echoed by Cleverly in his interview.

“The reports that we had over the weekend regarding the arbitrary detention and arrest of dual British nationals, I think, are completely inconsistent – they are separate issues, this one has before the other.”

He added that the imprisonment “should not be related to the decades-long dispute over tanks”.

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Fry Electronics Team

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