Israel Ordered to Pay Iran Over 1989 Legal Battle

Swiss court orders Israel to pay for 1968 oil transport contract Iran cancelled after Iranian Revolution. Israel: we're not paying anything.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 22:50

Oil rig (illustration)
Oil rig (illustration)

A Swiss court has ordered an Israeli oil firm to pay Iran $1.1 billion in compensation over a joint venture from before the 1979 Islamic revolution, state news agency IRNA said Wednesday.

A judicial official quoted by IRNA said Tao, an Israeli firm registered in Panama, was ordered this month to pay the compensation to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), in a legal tussle dating back to 1989.

NIOC and an Israeli company had signed an agreement in 1968 to transport Iranian oil to the Jewish state across the Red Sea, AFP notes.

But Tehran says it was owed $450 million after the revolution when Iran cancelled the contract because it does not recognize the Jewish state.

The Finance Ministry insisted Wednesday night that it does not owe Iran a single shekel. 

"Without getting into the principle of the issue, remember that according to [Israel's] business laws, it is illegal to transfer money to an enemy [country]," the Ministry stated.