Iranian bank plans UK claim as pressure to ease sanctions rises

January 16, 2014 16:13

DUBAI - An Iranian bank plans to file a claim worth hundreds of millions of pounds against the British government next month as part of efforts by Iranian companies to dismantle Western sanctions against them, a lawyer for the bank said.

Bank Mellat will demand at least 500 million pounds ($820 million) in a filing at Britain's Commercial Court on Feb. 7, after the Supreme Court ruled last year that the government was wrong to slap sanctions on it, said the lawyer, Sarosh Zaiwalla.

It is the first time that an Iranian plaintiff against sanctions in Europe has reached the stage of claiming damages after a top court found in its favor, he said.

By making British taxpayers potentially liable, the case may put pressure on Western governments to ease their measures against Iranian firms in general, added London-based Zaiwalla, who represented Bank Mellat in its appeal to the Supreme Court.

"It may set a benchmark for any sanctions against Iran," he said in an interview late on Wednesday.

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