Daily Israel Report

UK Nat’l Security Concerns Block Publicity on Iran Bank Evidence

The UK Supreme Court can look at secret evidence in a case against an Iranian bank, but the public can't, according to court papers.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 3/20/2013, 3:42 PM

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

The UK Supreme Court can look at secret evidence against an Iranian bank, but the public won’t be allowed the same access due to national security concerns, according to court papers.

The ruling was handed down yesterday by a nine-judge panel at a hearing in the highest British court in a case over government sanctions against Bank Mellat, Bloomberg News reported.

Dealing with the Tehran-based bank were banned in 2009 for any UK company as part of the sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to halt its nuclear development activities.

The U.S. Department of Treasury has issued similar sanctions, as have other Western nations in a joint effort to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic to halt its uranium enrichment program, which Israel, the United States and recently the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency also has begun to believe is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran has defied every attempt to halt its nuclear development activities and every attempt by international officials to negotiate a slowdown has failed as well.

The bank fought the ban on the grounds that the restriction was illegal, taking appeals all the way to the UK’s Supreme Court.

Attorneys for Bank Mellat argued that judges in the case could not see parts of a lower court ruling that were issued in private, saying a litigant has “a fundamental right to know the case against him and to answer it.”

The UK government wanted to include civil cases in closed trials where evidence could compromise national security.