RHeld for several years in Iran, two Iranian-British convicted of charges they deny were released on Wednesday March 16. They will be reunited with their loved ones in the UK during the day, a happy epilogue to a long and painful saga. Their release came at a time when London announced that it had settled an old debt with Tehran of nearly 400 million pounds (476 million euros), without establishing a link between the two cases.
The two British nationals faced “hardships that no family should ever experience”, said the head of diplomacy, Liz Truss, in a press release, welcoming “the result of tenacious and creative British diplomacy”. The case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, was deeply moved in the United Kingdom. This employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the eponymous news agency, was arrested in April 2016 after visiting her family with her 22-month-old daughter. Accused of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic, she was sentenced to five years in prison. Anoosheh Ashoori, a retired engineer, was arrested in August 2017 while visiting his mother and sentenced to ten years in prison for spying for Israel.
Iran nuclear deal near
As the Islamic Republic of Iran detains more than a dozen Western passport holders, Liz Truss said London will continue to work for the departure from Iran of Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American also with British nationality, sentenced to ten years in prison for “conspiracy with America” and who was released on parole. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier in the day expressed hope for a positive outcome, confirming that a team of British negotiators were working in Tehran to secure the release of several dual nationals.
The release of the two Iranian-Britons comes as ongoing negotiations in Vienna between the Europeans, including the UK, China and Russia, with Iran to salvage the Iran nuclear deal look set to close. achieve. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had collected his passport on Tuesday, raising hopes of an early release. Four years after her arrest, she had obtained temporary leave in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was placed under house arrest with her parents. But, having reached the end of her sentence, she was again sentenced at the end of April 2021 to one year in prison for having participated in a rally in front of the Iranian embassy in London in 2009. Last October, she had lost her appeal, causing his relatives to fear a return to prison. Richard Ratcliffe, father of their little girl Gabriella, now 7 years old, had gone on two hunger strikes to warn of her fate.