UK settles sanctions dispute with Iranian bank

Tasnim – The British government settled a 1.25 billion pound ($1.6 billion) damages claim brought by Iran’s largest private bank in a last-minute out-of-court deal following a dispute over sanctions.

Bank Mellat, which is 20% owned by the Iranian government and 80% privately held, said on Tuesday the legal row had been resolved for an undisclosed sum on the first day of a trial to assess its damages at London’s High Court, Reuters reported.

That comes six years after the UK Supreme Court ruled that sanctions imposed on the bank in 2009 were unlawful and that the government had been “irrational” and “disproportionate”. It referred the case back to the High Court.

Bank Mellat had argued that sanctions had damaged its reputation and goodwill in Britain and internationally, and caused significant loss.

The government’s Treasury Department issued a brief statement, saying, “Bank Mellat’s claims have been concluded on terms confidential to the parties.”

The sanctions were imposed by the Labour government under former prime minister Gordon Brown, claiming Bank Mellat engaged in conduct that supported and facilitated Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The sanctions – part of the 28-member European Council’s freeze of the funds of Iranian financial entities from 2010 – were however lifted in 2016 when an international nuclear deal with Iran came into effect.