Tuesday, May 18

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reportedly released, but could face new charges | Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released from house arrest after serving her five-year sentence, but the British-Iranian dual nationality will have to go to court to face a second series of charges on March 14, according to reports that They summon their attorney. .

The second group of charges long threatened by Iranians includes involvement in propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic by attending a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in 2009 and speaking to BBC Persian.

His lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told the Iranian website Emtedad on Sunday that his five-year prison sentence for conspiring to overthrow the clerical system was complete.

“She was pardoned by Iran’s supreme leader last year, but spent the last year of her tenure under house arrest with electronic shackles attached to her feet. Now they are discarded, ”Kermani told the website. “She has been released.”

Iran’s judicial officials have yet to comment on the launch.

In practice, the news means that she has been released from the ankle tag that keeps her less than 300 meters from her parents’ home, but given that she faces a series of charges this Sunday, it is unlikely that she will be returned to her passport, what would I do. I need to go back to the UK.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We welcome the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle tag, but Iran’s continued treatment of her is intolerable. He must be allowed to return to the UK as soon as possible to be reunited with his family. “

There was no immediate independent confirmation from his family in London. They had reported only hours before that they had heard no news of their fate. She was released from jail last March, but was ordered to remain with the ankle tag at her parents’ home in Tehran. It was unclear whether he would face a second round of charges, and many believed the decision would be based on the broader state of diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, had said that her continued detention was illegal under Iranian law, as she had served her sentence and had not been charged with any new crimes. He said Iranian officials had accepted that his sentence was complete.

He described his wife’s condition as nervous as he waited to hear his fate. Iranian authorities remained deathly silent in the run-up to Sunday, and the Foreign Ministry played down expectations.

The Iranians first threatened to bring a second round of charges against him in October 2017, and again last September, but withdrew amid diplomatic outrage. The new charges related to the dissemination of propaganda against the regime contain no evidence that was not available at his first trial in 2016.

Ratcliffe said his wife “had been counting down to this date for 18 months,” marking the days off as an Advent calendar. “There is something deeply unsettling about crossing that threshold, because if this can happen, anything could happen.” She said it had been painful telling her six-year-old daughter Gabriella that she didn’t know if her mother would be coming home this weekend.

He had hoped that the Iranians would remove his ankle tag and provide him with a passport and a flight back to London after a five-year ordeal in which he spent more than four years in prison, including nearly nine months in solitary confinement without windows in two. separate prisons.

She was arrested at Tehran airport on April 2, 2016 for national security reasons and, since her arrest, she has twice gone on a hunger strike to protest her conditions. He has suffered from panic attacks, insomnia, shoulder pain, and has often contemplated suicide. He has been denied consular access because Iran does not recognize his dual citizenship.

During her questioning, she claims that the Iranians tried to persuade her to become a spy, told her that her husband had abandoned her, and threatened to send her daughter back to London. Gabriella has started studying in the UK and talks to her mother on Skype.

Nazanin and her husband have long argued that they are holding it as a bargaining chip to secure the release of a debt of more than 400 million pounds that the UK recognizes it owes Iran, but says it cannot pay due to the sanctions against Iran. Critics say the UK has not put in place a public strategy to pay off the debt, possibly through humanitarian payments, and instead waged a decades-long legal battle, which it ultimately lost, not to pay the debt.

Although the Iranian Foreign Ministry is not the final arbiter of his fate, the broader diplomatic context has been seen as critical to his release. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, was in Tehran on Sunday to discuss the stalled talks on the Iran nuclear deal. Ireland was a UN security council sponsor of the motion endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal from which the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018.

The diplomatic showdown between the Biden administration and Iran has escalated over the terms to reopen talks on the nuclear deal, with Iran demanding that all sanctions imposed by the Trump administration be lifted first, and the United States insisting that they be lifted. hold informal talks first about how Iran will too. return to honor the deal. Iran has been steadily reducing the access of UN nuclear inspectors to its nuclear sites and has increased reserves of enriched uranium above the limits set in the agreement.

Iranian diplomats feel they won a victory last week when E3 (UK, France and Germany) withdrew a motion at the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna to censure Iran for its breach of the agreement. 2015, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan.

The UK was seen by Iran as one of the ringleaders of the motion of no confidence, a hostile act.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized “Europe’s inactivity in the JCPOA commitments”, adding that Iran was committed to “preserving the JCPOA and is the only party that has paid a price for it.”

“But this situation cannot continue as it is,” Rouhani emphasized.

Maintaining and reviving the agreement required all parties to act on their commitments, he said.

Iran claims the United States is close to relaxing restrictions on Iran’s access to its funds in foreign accounts, at least for humanitarian purposes, especially in South Korea and Iraq. That could set a precedent that makes it easier for the UK to pay off its historic debt without crushing US sanctions. The UK has provided little evidence to Ratcliffe, he says, that he thought imaginatively about how to pay off the debt or if he pressured the United States to give the UK permission to do so.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The Foreign Secretary and the FCDO remain in close contact with Zaghari-Ratcliffe and his family, and continue to provide our support.

“We do not accept that Iran detains British citizens with dual citizenship as a diplomatic lever. The regime must end the arbitrary detention of all British citizens with dual citizenship.

“We continue to do everything we can to secure the release of arbitrarily detained dual-national British citizens so that they can be reunited with their loved ones.”


www.theguardian.com

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