The long battle to liberate Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is finally on her way back to the UK after nearly six years of detention in Iran, her local MP confirmed.

Labour’s Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had his passport returned and was at the airport in Tehran. One’s mother was under house arrest at her parents’ house in the capital.

Why is she detained?

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested during a visit to Iran in April 2016 for allegedly seeking to “softly overthrow” the Islamic republic. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claim she is leading a “hostile network with foreign links”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has always denied the allegations, insisting that she came to Tehran on holiday so her parents could meet their 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella.

But in November 2017, then-foreign secretary Boris Johnson made a “mistake” that set her case back, “by giving credence to Iran’s false claims about her.” , speak Guardians. The Prime Minister has now falsely claimed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “simply teaching people how to make newspapers” during her visit.

Her parent company, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, released a statement confirming that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was on vacation, and the State Department later asserted that Johnson’s remarks were “without good basis” to take further legal action against her.

But despite lengthy negotiations, she has spent most of the past six years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where prisoners are subjected to “torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” “, Amnesty International reported last year.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was removed from Evin in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and has been under house arrest at her parents’ house ever since.

In April 2021, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to another year’s detention and a year’s travel ban after being found guilty of “conducting propaganda against the Iranian government”.

Her lawyer said she was accused of “participating in a protest outside the Iranian embassy in London 12 years ago and giving an interview to BBC Persian”.

Why can she be released now?

The detention of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other Anglo-Iranian dual nationals is linked to a debt of £400 million dating back to 1971. Five decades ago, the UK agreed to sell 1,500 Chieftain tanks to Iran. , but when the Middle Eastern country “was overthrown eight years later, we refused to deliver the tanks but kept the cash”, explains Time‘Clare fog.

“The international courts have agreed that we owe them” and “the UK government has acknowledged this debt,” continued Foges. And “it is clear that for the Iranians, the issuance of money is a prerequisite for the liberation of Zaghari-Ratcliffe.”

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has asserted that his wife is being used as a bargaining chip for Iran over unpaid debt and “as leverage in the negotiations on the nuclear deal between Iran and other countries.” world power”, BBC reported.

Last March, the recently retired head of the Foreign Office, Simon McDonald, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program the UK has considered to erase its historic debt to Iran through humanitarian payments.

“We admit it was Iranian money and it had to go back to Iran,” he said, adding that “a major complication is that Iran is subject to very comprehensive sanctions so this money is returned as what is part of the story”.

Last month, Guardians reported that Foreign Minister Liz Truss had expressed hope that Britain would soon be able to repay the debt, “under an Iranian account” during a phone call with his Tehran counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The UK Foreign Office confirmed that the call took place. A spokesperson said: “We continue to explore options as a matter of urgency to resolve this case.

What is next?

Yesterday’s return of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s passport was “the surest sign in months that the 43-year-old’s ordeal may be coming to an end”, said Daily telegram.

Although the British government has not confirmed or denied agreeing to pay a £400m debt, British officials “remarkably failed to knock down” Iranian reports suggesting the case, the newspaper said. know more. However, the government has said that the two issues should not be linked.

After it was reported that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was at the airport today, sister-in-law Rebecca Ratcliffe told BBC News: “It felt like we were on our way home but by the time she left the airport, we weren’t. I can not believe it. . ” The long battle to liberate Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Fry Electronics Team

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