Here is a good example of governmental waste of taxpayers' money. Quietly successive governments spend millions of our hard earned cash on issues such as this.
Do we really want more of the same? Because if we vote for any of the three main parties that's what we'll get. No PPC wants to discuss such matters, mainly because they don't have a clue about them, but these types of issues, along with the 'aid' dished out willy nilly by DFID, are why we cannot invest in the future of our children.
It's a long story going back 30 years when Britain sold the Shah of Iran 1,500 state of the art Chieftain tanks (pictured above) and 250 repair vehicles costing £650m. It must have seemed unbelievable to the British government of the time when the Shah of Persia paid them up front for the equipment.
The deal was negotiated by a government-owned company named International Military Services Ltd.
The problems arose when, with just 185 tanks delivered to Tehran, the Shah was deposed. The deal floundered and the Iranians asked for their money back. London refused and ever since have fought a bitter legal court case in an obscure international trading court based in the Netherlands. They want to hold onto what remains of the Shah's money.
The Thatcher government panicked and quickly agreed to sell 279 Chieftains to Jordan. What was not public knowledge was that, under the cover of that deal, Britain also sold 29 surplus ARVs to Hussein's Iraq, shortly before it began the 8 year war with Iran which is said to have claimed half a million lives. Publicising this would have contravened Britain's position of neutrality in the Iran-Iraq war and all IMS records elating to it were shredded apart from a letter signed by Lord Strathcona, a junior MoD minister, authorising the transaction.
However, all these years later (and let's not forget the compound interest), Britain is to return nearly £400m to Iran's defence ministry after finally admitting defeat. Financial restrictions imposed by the EU on Iranian banks mean that Iran will not be able to access the money and it will be held in a trust account overseen by independent trustees.
One British source said: "Given the context of current relations a large payment of this type looks like a propaganda gift."
The MoD insisted that the pay out will not come from its own over-stretched budget. In anticipation of a defeat, as far back as 2002, Britain paid nearly £486m into the High Court to meet the cost of any settlement. Westminster state that this money came from the Treasury and the government-owned International Military Services Ltd.
Can you believe that this money, expected to be about £390m including decades of compound interest, has not affected the expenditure for our troops in the last decade? That is what the UK government want us to believe.
Do read the whole article. It shows the hidden costs of a UK government where both tory and labour governments' allegiances to the arms trade came far above that of the country's national industries. What isn't mentioned is the 30-year legal costs.
There are reasons (here is one) why we have 10,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan and they are nothing to do with keeping the streets of Britain safer. It is said that the US Congress is pushing for war on Iran for the benefit of 'special interests'.
Lives are far less important than money - big money - where arms and reconstruction are concerned.