Iran calls for development of Tehran-London economic ties

FNA – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani called for expansion of trade and economic relations between Tehran and London, saying transactions between the two sides do not stand at satisfactory levels at present.

Shamkhani made the remarks in a meeting with visiting UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in Tehran on Monday.

The two officials discussed bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interests, according to the official website of Supreme National Security Council of Iran.

He went on to express his dissatisfaction with the level of bilateral economic relations and the banking relations between Iran and the UK.

Jeremy Hunt, for his part, expressed his satisfaction with the visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and meetings with the high authorities of the country.

The British top diplomat arrived in Tehran on Monday and met with his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to meeting with Shamkhani.

In a related front, during his weekly presser on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi called on London to clear its £450mln debt to Tehran as soon as possible.

“We hope Britain will be able to pay back the sums it owes to Iran as soon as possible,” he said.

He also dismissed the speculations that the British are seeking to settle the overdue debts to Iran through compensation for the damage inflicted on the British embassy in Tehran by angry protestors in 2011, saying, “These cases are still open and they are not related at all.”

Britain owes Iran around £450m for a cancelled arms deal in the 1970s. The deal was made with the country’s then Shah, and would have seen 1,750 tanks and other vehicles sold by Britain to Iran.

However, the Shah was toppled in the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and almost none of the vehicles were delivered. Britain kept the money, sparking a decades-long legal wrangle between the two countries.

The amount was reportedly transferred to a bank account controlled by the High Court in 2002, but has not been passed on to Iran. Talks to resolve the issue have been going on for many years.

Reports said in 2017 that that the UK Government was considering paying the amount to Iran but it did not.