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Nazanin threatened that ‘family would be harmed’ if she contacted British embassy

Theresa May tells PMQs that she 'regularly' raises charity worker's case with Iranian president

05 September, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was briefly reunited with her daughter last week

THERESA May today (Wednesday) insisted she “regularly” raised the issue of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment in Iran when she talks to the country’s president.

The Prime Minister was challenged by Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq in the House of Commons after it was revealed Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was warned against contacting the British embassy during a brief period of leave from jail – known as a ‘furlough’ – last week.

All campaigns to secure the release of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a mother-of-one from West Hampstead being held on vague spying charges, have so far failed despite huge media attention and heavyweight political support.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been locked up since April 2016 when she was arrested at Tehran airport coming back from a family holiday and split up from her daughter Gabriella. Her husband Richard Ratcliffe has not been granted a visa to visit her.

Last week, the charity worker was released for a three day period known as ‘furough’ but was then returned to jail in what her husband described as a “cruel” glimpse at freedom.

Taking part in the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, Ms Siddiq told Ms May: “When she was on furlough, she was contacted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard saying that if she attempted to contact the British embassy her family would be harmed. I find it deeply troubling that a British citizen was threatened against contacting her own embassy.”

She asked the Prime Minister to raise this “specific issue with President Rouhani when she next speaks to him, perhaps in New York later this month.”

Tulip Siddiq

Ms May told MPs: “I share the concerns that she has expressed and our thoughts are, I know across the whole house, remain with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during this difficult time and with her family and her friends who have been campaigning tirelessly for her release.

She added: “One of the difficulties is the question or not of whether the Iranian government recognises dual nationality which they do not, and are not obliged to under international law. She asks me to raise this with President Rouhani, I regularly do whenever I speak to President Rouhani. It’s an issue for the Foreign Secretary too and other ministers consistently raise it with the Iranian government and continue to do so.”

Iranian government representatives are due in New York this month for a United Nations conference.

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