September 29, 2022

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British philanthropist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released from Iran on her way back to the UK

British philanthropist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released from Iran on her way back to the UK

She spent nearly five years in prison before being released to house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran.

On Wednesday afternoon, British MP Tulip Seddik said, who fought for so long, He tweeted a picture of the charity worker on a plane and said she was “now flying 6 years of hell in Iran”.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Wednesday that two dual nationals – Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anousha Ashouri – “will return to the UK today”. A third, Mourad Tahbaz, said, “was released from prison after a final leave.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier Wednesday that a negotiating team was working in Tehran for the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

It was a long battle to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe, whose imprisonment was a prominent issue in Britain for years. BBC presenter choked up When announcing the news of her going to the airport.

In 2017, Johnson, then Secretary of State, came under fire when he said Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “simply teaching people journalism” before her arrest – a claim her family and employer vehemently denied. Johnson later distanced himself from his comments.

Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency, which called Zaghari-Ratcliffe a “spy”, said in a report published on Tuesday that her release came after Britain agreed to unfreeze more than $500 million in Iranian funds and release an unnamed Iranian citizen imprisoned in Britain. . Fars news agency said Ashouri was also released.

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Britain and Iran have long been in talks over a £400m ($524m) debt the UK owes Iran for not delivering tanks Iran bought in the 1970s.

Richard, husband of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who campaigned tirelessly for his wife’s release, had previously said she was being used as a political pawn in a debt dispute, as well as to lobby in talks over the Iran nuclear deal.

The British government said the cases were unrelated.

The statement provided another hopeful sign that a revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal may be imminent. Talks in Vienna focused on a deal to restore the pact, which lapsed after President Donald Trump withdrew from the United States in 2018, and was suspended last week after Russia made new demands related to sanctions imposed as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that those demands had been met through language in the current text of the draft agreement, which diplomats had hoped to adopt earlier this month. He added that Russia still supports restoring the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Diplomats say a prisoner exchange between Iran and the West is expected, along with moves to finalize a deal. These could include at least four US citizens held in Iranian prisons and as many as 13 Iranians imprisoned in the United States.

There are still other outstanding issues to be resolved between the United States and Iran, which have negotiated indirectly through mediators from the European Union, Russia and China.

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One of the key issues from Iran’s perspective is asking the United States to provide guarantees that no future president will be able to withdraw from the talks, as Trump has done, according to a person familiar with exchanges between Iran and the United States.

Such a guarantee is legally impossible for the United States to provide, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations, but that Iran might come close to the view that the deal might have to move forward without it.

Karim Fahim from Istanbul contributed to this report.