Boris Johnson in Iran to press for release of British aid worker

Ruben Ruiz
December 11, 2017

Her relatives denied the accusation.

He released a statement prior to his arrival, saying: "I will stress my grave concerns about our dual national consular cases and press for their release where there are humanitarian grounds to do so". A day earlier, Johnson said he expected to have "frank" discussions with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an aid worker, was arrested at Teheran airport on April 3 previous year, after visiting relatives with her daughter.

Britain has voiced its continued support for the nuclear deal but is one of a number of Western powers voicing concerns about Tehran's "destabilizing" influence in the region.

"The two sides discussed various matters including economic, banking and trade relations", the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We leave with a sense that both sides want to keep up the momentum to resolve the hard issues in the bilateral relationship and preserve the nuclear deal".

It is thought that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces a possible court appearance later on new charges.

The invitation to see president Hassan Rouhani was being seen as a positive development given the often testy state of relations between the two countries.

During his visit, Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss United Kingdom banking restrictions on Iranian firms as well as "consular cases of dual nationals", the Guardian reported.

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Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of Hampstead, North London, could see her five year sentence doubled following fresh charges, having been arrested in 2016 during a holiday visit to show her baby daughter Gabriella to her parents.

After the arrest, her daughter's passport was confiscated and for the last 20 months the three-year-old has been living with her maternal grandparents in Iran.

The threats to increase her sentence by five years came following Mr Johnson's gaffe of telling a parliamentary committee she had been in Iran to train journalists.

Last month, the Free Nazanin Campaign said, insomnia, bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts and had been given a health assessment.

Mr Ratcliffe said he was expecting to receive a full debrief from the Foreign Office on either Monday or Tuesday.

"It's all up in the air", he said.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian demonstrators attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in response to the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite dissident leader.

The president went on as saying "we are Muslim and Iranian, and we have a long and old culture, we are not the one who violates the nuclear agreement".

He met with Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, on Sunday after meeting with Iran's foreign minister on Saturday.

Other reports by GizPress

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