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Zaghari-Ratcliffe And The Tale Of Unpaid British Debt

Left wing blogger Mick Hall asks: 

Has Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe been held in an Iranian prison because the British government refuses to pay it's debts?
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her family in happier times.

The truth is slowly emerging as to why the Iranian government is taking a strong line over the imprisonment of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian charity worker and mother of one, who was arrested in Iran last April and has been held in detention since.

She and her husband have long believed she may be viewed as collateral by the government in Tehran. We now know why and it is no thanks to the British government but due to the persistence of her husband.

The history of this sorry saga began in the mid-1970s when the Shah of Iran’s regime was one of the British defence industry’s major cash cows. The vainglorious Shah was spending hundreds of millions of dollars on tanks, missiles and military infrastructure his people could ill afford.

On the eve of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 the Shah’s armed forces already equipped with 250 Scorpion reconnaissance tanks and 760 Chieftain battle tanks placed another order for 1,200 tanks.

A deal had also been signed to build a military industrial manufacturing complex at Ishafan, 200 miles south of Tehran, where Iran planned to develop its own arms industry.

Delivery of the second tranche of Chieftain tanks had barely begun when the Shah was ousted and the new revolutionary government of Iran which had replaced the Shah pulled out of the deal, understandably demanding the British government return its money.

The demand was made to Millbank Technical Services, an agency fully owned by the Ministry of Defence. The government refused Iran’s demands, setting in motion a legal case that has rumbled on for years.

In other words the British government refused to pay Iran what it was owed under the clauses in the contract.

In 2001 an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague ruled in favour of Iran and said the company, now renamed International Military Services, should repay Iran the money it was owed with damages and interest.

The Dutch courts upheld that ruling. Some £500 million to settle the debt has been paid into the High Court and is frozen pending an agreement.

The British government stalled and refused to pay its debt.

Boris Johnson would have known all this yet failed to act, instead sending a smokescreen down about Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe teaching Iranian journalists to suck eggs.

According to The Times a British government spokesperson put out a sorry excuse for welching on a debt:

It’s really not for the UK to make the move. The ball is in Iran’s court to show the money goes to the right place. That’s the point at which we can consider the legality. [But] that barrier of proof has not been in any way met . . . The pressure is on Iran.

Talk about the doublespeak of a conman, and a heartless one at that, for I doubt Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family would believe the pressure is on Iran. Besides the legality of the debt has already been decided, not once but twice, first by the international arbitration tribunal in The Hague when it ruled in favour of Iran, secondly by Dutch courts when they upheld that ruling.

Is it any wonder Britain has become a laughing stock in the world when its government refuse to pay its debts and to justify it acts like a poor imitation of a flimflam man.

➤Information in this post provided by Sean O’Neill.

Mick Hall blogs @ Organized Rage.

Follow Mick Hall on Twitter @organizedrage

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Anthony McIntyre

Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher

2 comments to ''Zaghari-Ratcliffe And The Tale Of Unpaid British Debt"

  1. And add to this the current civil disruption and we can see what is afoot....these things are like jigsaws that suddenly fit together after spending several hours trying to see how it all connects.

  2. Niall,

    Your absolutely correct, of course the Iranian government is not to my liking but what Trump, his pliable British caddy and their satraps in the middle east like the Saudi crown prince wish to see is yet another nation in the region going up in flames and for no better reason than they refuse to bend the know to Washington. Like or loathe it Iran is a bulwark against Wahhabism. If the Iranian people wish to change their government that is for them, not some piece of excreta sitting in the White House or Riyadh.


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