The Jewish community in Britain is furious that a top government official is already announcing the intention to sign a trade deal with Iran just 2 months after the nuclear deal was signed in Vienna.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said he will lead the UK’s first trade mission to Iran in nearly 40 years if the Islamic Republic honours the deal. “Assuming that Iran honours the nuclear deal, and it’s properly verified, I think there will be growing potential to do business with Iran,” Osborne was quoted as saying in the Financial Times. “Next year I would love to lead a proper, big economic and trade delegation to Iran.”
Sarosh Zaiwalla, a London-based international lawyer representing among others the National Iranian Oil Company, told IBTimes UK: “The chancellor’s announcement today is further evidence that the British government is determined to uphold the good spirit of the Iran deal reached in Vienna. Economic sanctions have severely impacted business ties between Iran and Britain, especially in the banking and energy industries where there have been restrictions on transactions and trade.”
Arieh Miller, executive director of the Zionist Federation, called on the British government to reconsider its warming of relations with Iran. “I think a lot of people will feel very uneasy about the prospect of the UK unquestioningly building trade links with Iran,” Miller was quoted as saying by The Jewish Chronicle. “Many will wonder how the corresponding financial benefits will bolster a theocratic regime opposed to human rights and democracy at home, and the existence of a Jewish state abroad.”
“Only this week the commander of Iran’s army said that his forces will destroy Israel, and that he backs Tehran’s support for terror groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas. These statements are, unfortunately, as regular as they are appalling. We hope that the current government, which has shown itself to be a good friend to Israel, will take these concerns seriously,” he added.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, was also quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as saying,”Significant trade missions merely enable Iran’s bellicose and problematic role in the region already reeling from massive instability. We hope that the UK will continue to see Israel as a major strategic partner, especially as the region’s only democracy and free nation and one that cooperates in practical ways to safeguard British interests and lives. The opposite could certainly be argued about Iran.”