Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Iranian-British detained in Iran since 2016, returns to UK

Iran-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been detained in Iran since 2016 where she was convicted of sedition, which she has always denied, is on her way back to the United Kingdom, a British MP announced Wednesday, March 16. “Nazanin is now in the air, leaving six years of hell in Iran,” said further Twitter Tulip Siddiq, Labor MP for the Hampstead and Kilburn (North London) constituency, where Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, lives.

In Tehran, official Iranian media confirmed that the Iranian-British had been ” discount “ to the British government. The latter also announced the release of a second detainee on Wednesday. Anoosheh Ashoori, a retired Iranian-British engineer, was arrested in August 2017 while visiting his mother and sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying for Israel. “I can confirm that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori will return to the UK today” and “will be reunited with their families later today”claimed on Twitter the head of diplomacy Liz Truss.

“They have gone through hardships that no family should ever experience, and it is a moment of great relief”she added in a press release, welcoming “the result of tenacious and creative British diplomacy”.

A debt paid

Their release came after London announced that it had settled an old debt with Tehran of nearly £400m (476m), without linking the two cases. Iran confirms receipt of debt settlement.

this debt “was settled in full compliance with UK and international sanctions” and these funds will be reserved only for the purchase of humanitarian goods.”, Liz Truss assured. In the morning, the British Foreign Secretary told the… BBC that she had made a priority “to ensure that we repay the debt we rightfully owe to the Iranian authorities”.

On several occasions, Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and father of their little girl, Gabriella, had denounced that his wife“hostage” of a sinister political game regarding this debt incurred by the United Kingdom under an arms contract. He had also gone on hunger strike twice to warn of the fate of his companion. The last lasted twenty-one days, in the fall of 2021.

Accused of conspiracy

At the age of 43, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had recovered her passport on Tuesday, raising hopes of an early release. Project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the news agency of the same name, was arrested in 2016 in Tehran, where she came to visit her family. She was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran, which she vehemently denies, and sentenced to five years in prison.

After serving her sentence, she was again sentenced to a year in prison in late April 2021 for participating in a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London in 2009. By October 2021, she had lost her call, raising fears among her relatives of a speedy return to the United States. the prison, from which she was allowed to leave with an electronic bracelet in March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Dozen Westerners Arrested

As the Islamic Republic of Iran detains more than a dozen Western passport holders, Liz Truss announced that London will continue to work on the departure from Iran of Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American also of British nationality, sentenced to ten years in prison for “Conspiracy with America” and was released on parole.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that a team of British negotiators was working in Tehran to secure the release of several dual nationals.

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The world with AFP