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Brexit superwoman Liz Truss gets tough with Iran and demands release of British nationals


Ahead of the UN General Assembly summit, Ms Truss has called for the release of all “arbitrarily detained British nationals” in the Islamic Republic. As Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe approaches 2,000 days in detention in Iran, Ms Truss will press the Islamic Republic to allow the British national to return home. She will also ask her counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to release Anoosheh Ashoori and Morad Tahbaz.

Ms Truss said: “I will be asking Iran to ensure the immediate and permanent release of all arbitrarily detained British nationals in Iran, and to begin working with us to mend our fractured relations.

“The UK, US and our international partners are fully committed to a nuclear deal, but every day that Iran continues to delay talks whilst escalating its own nuclear programme means there is less space for diplomacy.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, has been held in Iran since 2016 and is set to serve the second of two prison sentences.

She is currently staying with her mother while she appeals the second prison sentence.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been accused by the Iranian regime of spreading propaganda against the state during her time as part of a BBC Persia scheme in the country.

Mr Ratcliffe has has urged the new Foreign Secretary to take up the case and take action against Iran.

He revealed he had spoken to Ms Truss ahead of her trip to the US for the United National General Assembly summit.

He also claimed the detention of his wife centres around the £400million military debt which the UK owes Iran.

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British officials have countered this and claimed the resolution of the debt, which relates to the delivery of tanks, is a separate issue.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Ratcliffe said: “I said it needed carrot and stick – that, as I had told her predecessors, they needed to address the debt if Nazanin is going to come home, and that they needed to take steps to address Iran’s hostage diplomacy – to disincentivise Iran from continuing to do it.

“One of the key problems I feel these past years is there’s been no cost for the Iranian side to carry on holding Nazanin, to carry on holding others, and so we’ve seen that now there are more British citizens in prison than there were when Nazanin was first taken.”

Ms Truss’ predecessor had also claimed her detention in the state had amounted to “torture” in May.

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The Foreign Secretary will also push for a reset in relations between the two states.

She will also reiterate the US proposition to lift sanctions on the state if its return to the nuclear commitments made under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

In April 6, 2021, the US began negotiations in Vienna to restore the agreement.

A further six rounds of negotiations were held with Iran before it was paused on June 20.

The JCPoA was implemented on January 16, 2016 and was signed by Iran, Russia, Germany, France, the US, UK, China and the EU.

Under Donald Trump, the US withdrew from the deal in 2018.

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