Britain to pay 400 million-pound debt to Iran soon, Iranian official says

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 17, 2017 8:32 AM

ANKARA (Reuters) - Britain will soon repay a debt of over 400 million pounds ($527 million) to Iran, the Iranian ambassador said on Friday, but the payment was not linked to the case of a British-Iranian charity worker jailed in Iran.

"An outstanding debt owed by the U.K. to Tehran will be transferred to the Central Bank of Iran in the coming days. The payment ... has nothing to do with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case," Hamid Baeedinejad wrote on his Telegram channel.

Zaghari-Retcliff was detained in April 2016 in Tehran. She was sentenced to five years in prison after an Iranian court convicted her of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment. She denies the charges.

Britain's Foreign Office was not immediately available to comment on the Iranian ambassador's comments.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman denied there was any link between the debt and the charity worker's case.

Tehran also dismissed the Telegraph report.

The Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday that Britain was working on a plan to pay Iran the debt, owed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, as part of efforts to secure the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters. It operates independently of Reuters News.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill in London; editing by Larry King and Jon Boyle)