Home / NEWS / Boris Johnson in Iran to press for release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Boris Johnson in Iran to press for release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Boris Johnson arrived in Iran on Saturday morning to press the Iranian regime for the release of jailed Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The visit is only the third by a British foreign minister to Iran in the last 14 years, and takes place against a complex backdrop of historical, regional and bilateral tensions.

Mr Johnson met his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and on Sunday is scheduled to meet President Hassan Rouhani .

The Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement: “The two sides discussed various matters including economic, banking and trade relations.

“The UK foreign secretary said the JCPOA (nuclear deal) is very valuable to the UK and emphasised his country’s commitment to its full implementation.”

Mr Johnson did not speak to reporters.

 Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella

Credit:
Family handout/PA

The Foreign Secretary had earlier promised to leave “no stone unturned” in Britain’s efforts to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted by an Iranian court of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment. She denies the charges.

“The Foreign Secretary will urge the Iranians to release dual nationals where there are humanitarian grounds to do so,” a foreign office spokesman said earlier.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is not the only dual national being held in Iran, but has become the most high-profile case. 

Mr Johnson caused a diplomatic furore last month when he said that she had been teaching people journalism before her arrest in April 2016.

In fact she had not been working but had simply been on a family holiday and critics said the remarks could have prompted Iran to extend her sentence.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard talks to demonstrators following a march in support of his wife on November 25

Credit:
Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organisation that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News, confirmed that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been on holiday and had not been teaching journalism in Iran.

Mr Johnson has since apologised for any distress his comments may have caused and said that she was in Iran on holiday.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been told she will appear in court on December 10, her husband Richard has said.

The visit will test the Foreign Secretary’s ability to navigate a political landscape littered with potential pitfalls. Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution turned it into a pariah state for most of the West and many Middle Eastern neighbours.

International sanctions have only recently been lifted as part of a multilateral nuclear deal to curb Iran’s disputed uranium enrichment programme. That deal is under threat after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to decertify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.

Britain has voiced its continued support for the nuclear deal but is one of a number of Western powers voicing concerns about Tehran’s “destabilising” influence in the region.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/09/boris-johnson-lands-iran-press-release-ofnazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe/

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