UK News Raab admits Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is Iranian ‘hostage’
Every twist and turn in Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s 5-year fight for justice
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to another year in prison. The British-Iranian charity worker has been charged with spreading “propaganda against the system” for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009. As well as the one-year jail term she has also been banned from leaving the country for a year. The news comes as the latest blow to those who have campaigned for her release, with Boris Johnson promising that the UK will “redouble” efforts to free her.
The Foreign Secretary has said the treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by Iran amounts to “torture” and accepted she is effectively being held hostage by the Middle Eastern state.
Dominic Raab told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff was being “subjected to a cat and mouse game” by the Iranians.
Asked if she could be described as a hostage, he replied: “I think it’s very difficult to argue against that characterisation.
“It is clear that she is subjected to a cat and mouse game that the Iranians, or certainly part of the Iranian system, engage with and they try and use her for leverage on the UK.”
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe feels ‘no grounds for hope’ after UK sentence response
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said the lack of action by ministers had ’emboldened’ Iran to sentence Nazanin to jail a second time.The British-Iranian dual national, who watched the House of Commons proceedings from the Middle East, also questioned why the Foreign Secretary opted not to answer the question in person but sent departmental minister James Cleverly instead.
The British-Iranian dual national was sentenced to a fresh jail term of one year on Monday and handed a year-long travel ban in Iran on a new charge of “spreading propaganda against the regime”.
She has already served a five-year prison sentence after being detained on charges relating to national security in 2016.
The mother-of-one was arrested at Tehran airport as she made her way back to the UK after a visit to her parents to introduce them to her daughter.
She and her family believe she is being held as political leverage to try to force the UK’s hand in a long-running financial dispute between the UK and Iran.
It dates back to the 1970s when the then-shah of Iran paid the UK £400 million for 1,500 Chieftain tanks.
Raab says Russia's behaviour has 'got to change' at UK-US joint conference
Dominic Raab has said Russia's behaviour "has got to change" in order to improve relations with the UK ahead of discussions between G7 foreign ministers. © N/A Raab: Russia's behaviour has 'got to change' The foreign secretary held a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Downing Street on Monday.Among the topics discussed were sanctions on Russian citizens, climate change and President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan later this year.
When the shah was toppled in 1979, Britain refused to deliver the tanks to the new Islamic Republic but kept the cash, despite British courts accepting it should be repaid.
Asked about the debt on Sunday, Mr Raab said: “It’s not solely about that.
“That is not actually the thing that’s holding us up at the moment, it’s the wider context as we come up to the Iranian presidential elections and the wider elections on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) which, inevitably from the Iranian perspective, the two are considered in tandem.
“Nazanin is held unlawfully, in my view, as a matter of international law. I think she’s being treated in the most abusive, tortuous way. I think it amounts to torture, the way she’s being treated.”
On Tuesday, Mrs Zaghari-Ratciffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe told the PA news agency ministers were “enabling the abuse” his wife has suffered through their “reluctance to do anything” that might upset Tehran.
US denies Iranian claims of multibillion deal to free western prisoners
State TV suggested a deal had been reached for the UK to pay £400 million for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.It was not immediately clear if the report represented a move by the hardliners running the Iranian broadcaster to disrupt negotiations with the West amid talks in Vienna on Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal.
He urged the Government to target members of Iran’s leadership with new Magnitsky sanctions, which focus on people involved in some of the gravest human rights abuses around the world.
“I think that’s proportionate, that is not extreme – these guys need to feel that this is a bad tactic,” he added.
Mr Ratcliffe, commenting on the lack of British representation in court at his wife’s most recent hearing, said: “What we got told was that they (the UK Government) didn’t want to do something provocative that could could cause harm to Nazanin.
“And I was like, ‘Are you effing kidding me?’ You either stand up and protect her or you allow it to happen.
“They are taking her to court for the second time on a second stage of nonsense when you’ve invoked diplomatic protection – you need to show that your protection should be taken seriously.
“And the failure to do that will have emboldened the Revolutionary Guards to follow through and give her the sentence – and they gave the maximum they could.
“The timidity of the Government will have been a contributing factor.”
G7 leaders to meet in person for first time in two years - here's what they're expected to discuss .
Representatives of the world's richest countries will meet face-to-face this week for the first time in two years. © Reuters Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is due to meet the US secretary of state ahead of the G7 summit The G7 meeting in London begins today, with attendees from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and the UK. © Reuters Boris Johnson chaired a virtual meeting of G7 leaders in the Cabinet Room at Downing Street in February Representatives from the European Union will also attend, as will India's external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.