Britain Wants To Settle Its Military Debt To Iran

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Captured Iranian Army Chieftain tank being operated by the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) militant group in Iraq. AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes

Forbes: Will Britain Follow In America’s Footsteps And Repay Iran For Undelivered Military Hardware?

The United Kingdom may repay Iran for undelivered military hardware sold to Iran during the reign of its last Shah in the not-too-distant future. By doing so, Britain will be following in the footsteps of the United States, which, during the Obama administration, also repaid Iran for undelivered weapons systems from the same period.

Britain sold Iran Chieftain main battle tanks, which were the most advanced tank in the British arsenal at that time, back in the 1970s.

The Shah’s Iran made a fortune in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis and the dramatic rise in the world price of oil. He scrambled to make the Iranian military the most powerful in the region and made an advanced payment for over 1,500 Chieftain tanks. Iran ultimately only received a comparably paltry 185 of the tanks.

Britain was happy to sell the Shah such large quantities of advanced military hardware since it helped pay for its expensive oil imports.

“In order to offset the revenues that we were having to put out in order to purchase oil, and a lot of it Iranian oil, we needed offset arrangements, and he [the Shah] was ready and wanted to buy British military equipment,” explained Britain’s then-Foreign Secretary David Owen in a BBC documentary.

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WNU Editor:  We are talking about $520 million.