Layla speaks out on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe decision

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The BBC reports:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.

Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian service.

The prime minister said the UK would “redouble” efforts to free her.

The British-Iranian charity worker was first jailed in Tehran in 2016.

She has always denied the spying charges levelled against her.

Confirming the latest sentence, her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the court’s decision was a bad sign and “clearly a negotiating tactic” by the Iranian authorities – who are in the middle of discussions over the country’s nuclear activities.

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson has commented:

This is a cruel and heartless decision by the Iranian regime. Nazanin should be coming home to her family, instead she’s being used as a political bargaining chip yet again.

Enough is enough. The Foreign Secretary must now begin the process of introducing targeted Magnitsky sanctions against officials responsible. With Nazanin’s health deteriorating and her family in distress, strong words must be backed by real action.

Nazanin has been put through hell for five years and today’s verdict will prolong her suffering even more. The Government must do everything in its power to bring her home to her family immediately.

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  • Let’s not forget that Boris bears a large part of the blame for Nazanin being in her current predicament. He was a disaster as foreign secretary and his wrong comments about her purpose in Iran was used in the trial against her.

  • John Marriott 27th Apr '21 - 4:01pm

    I reckon that the only way to get her back is probably to pay back the money that the late Shah paid for those Centurion Tanks we never delivered. Even then, there’s no absolute guarantee. Diplomacy can be a messy business.

  • Anyone that travels to Iran or Gaddafi’s Libya for example was well aware of the dangers of fabricated charges depending on the political climate,and the fact that they don’t do Queensberry rules.

    To do so as a BBC journalist was reckless to say the least.

  • The mere fact that Nazanin has been tried and sentenced again shows, to me, the contempt that the Iranians have for our present “Government”.

  • Paul Reynolds 28th Apr '21 - 11:46am

    In 1971 the UK ministry of Defence (via IMI) agreed the sale of 1500 tanks to the Shah of Iran for half a billion dollars. I recall the day in Feb 1979 at University when members of the Iranian Society and Bahai Society rushed to the student bar to celebrate the Shah’s overthrow. This was one of the FCO’s greatest miscalculations. The tanks had not been manufactured and the contract was cancelled, but the Shah had already paid in full. They never got the tanks or the money back. Fast forward to 2008 and the UK accepted an arbitration ruling that it owed the money. Eight years later no funds had been returned and the Iranian foreign minister complained about political interference in the legal process causing delay. That was the year Nazarin was incarcerated. In July 2019 the UK High Court accepted that the UK owed Iran the money, but determined it did not owe interest on the funds. This was confirmed a year later by the Minister of Defence, who had previously said the UK’s delay tactics were ‘un-British, double-dealing and obfuscatory’. The excuse was US unilateral sanctions, and the need for a way round US rules, and the need for a delay to pacify Trump. The Iranians of course denied a Nazanin-tank-funds link, but Iranian political interference in Nazarin’s case clearly parallels politcal interference in formal processes over the funds. Seking a way forward with Biden however will almost certainly lead to Nazarin’s release, but Biden will need to interfere in trans-Atlantic securocrat relations. Thank you Layla for raising the topic.

  • Rob Harrison 28th Apr '21 - 4:44pm

    @Paul Reynolds – thanks for reminding us of the context of Nazarin’s case. I’m certainly no supporter of the current Iranian regime or the previous corrupt regime run by the Shah. There was simply no reason for the tanks to have been sold to Iran. I believe that the excuse was a perceived threat from Iraq (Saddam Hussein) and the Soviets. The Shah regime would probably have used them against their internal opponents.

    We’re seeing once again in this case the unintended consequences of arms sales.

  • Paul Reynolds 28th Apr '21 - 5:57pm

    Obviously, the manufacture of trumped up charges against dual nationals as a tool of international diplomacy, is to be condemned. That is not the way to conduct business. Neither has the sorry performance of HMG over this whole affair, and its extraordinary weakness in face of pressure from two close allies, been anything to applaud. Not a very edifying spectacle all round, I must say.

  • Laurence Cox 29th Apr '21 - 12:40pm

    I would like to see the British Government make a conciliatory gesture, for example offering Iran free supplies of covid vaccine to the value of the debt. As a humanitarian offer this would not be affected by sanctions and would show that we wished to benefit the people of Iran and not their repressive government (which just giving the money back to them would).

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