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Britain Keeps Its Arms Office in Iran Despite Sales Cutoff

December 18, 1987|From Reuters

LONDON — Britain is keeping open an arms sales office in Tehran despite its expulsion of Iranian officials who operated a major weapons procurement bureau in London, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The spokesman, responding to inquiries about newspaper reports, said the office is carrying out purely administrative functions. Britain has a strict ban on arms sales to Iran, he said.

"Their work is taken up in chasing debts incurred before the Islamic Revolution. That is the sole purpose of the office now," he said.

He said International Military Services Ltd., the ministry's commercial arms sales organization, has only a skeleton crew in Tehran.

About three months ago, Britain ordered the closure of Iran's major arms purchasing operation in London, which bought weapons from Europe for the war against Iraq.

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