Swiss Court Sentences Israeli Firm to Pay Iran $1.2b in Oil Debt
An Israeli-owned oil company was ordered by an arbitration court in Switzerland to pay Iran $1.2 billion in revenues for oil it bought before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Israeli media said the Swiss Supreme Court in Lausanne ordered the Israeli firm, the Trans-Asiatic Oil Ltd., or TAO, to pay the money to the National Iranian Oil Company, Fars News Agency reported.
According to the Swiss court, sanctions have been lifted against the NIOC and there is now no legal obstacle in the way of transferring the long-overdue payment. The Israeli firm also has to pay roughly $200,000 in court costs.
TAO had been involved in a partnership with the National Iranian Oil Company under Iran’s former monarch who was deposed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Israeli firm operated a fleet of tanker ships to carry Iranian oil to European customers.
The partnership ended in 1979, but the Israeli firm refused to pay for the Iranian oil already sold to third parties.
Iran launched the arbitration process to obtain the money for the oil that had been supplied on credit before the Islamic Revolution. The total sum in dispute is estimated at $7 billion.
The court in Switzerland had ruled in 2015 that Israel must pay the sum, but Israel had appealed against the decision.
International restrictions imposed by the US and EU over Iran's nuclear dispute were lifted in mid-January following a landmark deal with six world powers in July 2015 on temporarily limiting Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The deal has allowed Iran to gradually collect a backlog of oil payments from international companies such as the Royal Dutch Shell, Italy's Saras and several Indian oil refiners, among others.