The United States is “bullying” UK banks and hindering legal exports from Britain to Iran, senior British politicians has said.
The politicians, including former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former Chancellor Lord Lamont, made the remarks at a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday.
British parliamentarians say the US threatens British banks with heavy sanctions and hampers the legal exports of food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices from the UK to the Islamic republic. They add that Washington is hindering UK’s legal trades with Iran.
Lamont said Britain “should not be bullied by the American authorities.”
Straw noted that as British banks fear US sanctions, they do not provide UK companies with banking services for legal exports to Iran.
“The pressure on our banks is intense,” Straw said, adding, “The impact of this unilateral, extraterritorial jurisdiction of the US is discriminatory, especially against UK-based financial institutions, given their multinational nature.”
Straw also said the US authorities would not accept the way that British banks and companies are treated if they were in the same situation.
“The US Congress and government would not tolerate this for a moment were the situation reversed,” Straw stated, saying the move by the US is a direct challenge to the sovereignty of the UK.
Straw, who is also the British head of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group, visited Iran at the head of a high-ranking delegation, including Lamont, Conservative lawmaker Ben Wallace and Labor lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn as guests of Iran’s Majlis in January.
The British delegates held meetings with high-ranking Iranian officials. The three-day official visit was the first by a delegation of British politicians since 2008.
Earlier this month, in remarks meant to dissuade foreign countries from planning trade cooperation with the Islamic Republic, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran is not an open market for business.
“We have made it crystal clear that Iran is not open for business,” Kerry said, addressing US Senators on Capitol Hill on March 13. He warned that the core sanctions against Iran remain firmly in place.
Several delegations from across the world have visited Iran over the past few months in order to boost trade and ties with the Islamic Republic.