While Shell has been trying for months to pay its debt to Iran without violating anti - Iranian sanctions, oil industry sources said the British government has blocked the payment under the pretext of a European Union embargo on Iran to prevent “a payment that helps Iran”. Shell has reportedly consulted London on the possibility of paying British pharmaceuticals maker GSK to provide medicine to Iran in exchange for the debt but the proposal has been rejected. Shell has also sought the possibility of an offset agreement with US agricultural trader Cargill to deliver grain to Iran in exchange for the debt, but this second move was also blocked by London. This comes as the US and the European Union claim that their unilateral sanctions on Iran do not include food and medicine.
The British government has blocked the Anglo - Dutch oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell from paying its $2.3 billion debt to Iran to prevent a boost to the Iranian economy.