Monday, April 19, 2021
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Zaghari-Ratcliffe: UK ‘looking at ways to repay £400m debt to Iran’ | Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

The saga to get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe again to the UK is nearing its endgame, the not too long ago retired head of the International Workplace (FCDO) has mentioned.

Lord McDonald, everlasting undersecretary on the FCDO till the summer season, mentioned for the primary time the UK had been taking a look at repaying a historic £400m debt to Iran by means of humanitarian funds that will not be topic to sanctions on the nation.

It has been broadly claimed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe and different British-Iranian twin nationals in Iranian jails are being held hostage till the UK repays the debt, arising from arms gross sales to the Shah of Iran within the mid-1970s.

McDonald informed the BBC Radio four At present programme: “We acknowledge it’s Iranian cash and it does have to return to Iran. A key complication is that Iran is topic to very complete sanctions so how this cash is repaid is a part of the story.”

Requested if the UK had regarded right into a humanitarian route for paying again the debt he mentioned “enormous creativeness and energy has gone into this”.

He didn’t say why this effort had not but born fruit, however identified that one other listening to within the dispute over the fee of the debt was due in April.

There are some preliminary indicators that the US could also be keen to calm down the sanctions on Iran getting access to its personal funds in overseas financial institution accounts to be used in humanitarian functions. This precept might be prolonged by the US providing a sanctions waiver on the fee of the UK debt by means of a humanitarian route, however the US can be making an attempt to place strain on Iran to start out talks on the way forward for the nuclear deal.

McDonald continued with the FCDO line that the fee of the debt and the discharge of British-Iranian twin nationals had been unrelated. He acknowledged that the UK couldn’t afford to be seen to be succumbing to what quantities to state hostage-taking. “We is not going to enable linkage to be made on this case,” he mentioned, including a precedent couldn’t be set.

He mentioned the Zaghari-Ratcliffe saga was reaching its endgame, however mentioned energy was divided in Iran between completely different centres, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps “notably lively and controlling in Nazanin’s case”.

He was talking the day after the Iranian authorities removed the ankle tag from Zaghari-Ratcliffe after the completion of her five-year sentence, however mentioned she would face a second set of expenses on Sunday 14 March.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, mentioned he didn’t know what these expenses had been however they seemed to be associated to a case first raised by the Iranians in November 2017 that he mentioned “at occasions has been blamed on Boris Johnson and at occasions much less so”.

Johnson told a select committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Tehran to coach journalists. He later informed the Commons, on 7 November 2017: “My level was that I disagreed with the Iranian view that coaching journalists was a criminal offense, not that I needed to lend any credence to Iranian allegations that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been engaged in such exercise. I settle for that my remarks might have been clearer in that respect and I’m glad to supply this clarification.”

If the costs quantity to spreading propaganda in opposition to the regime, it will be tempting for the Iranians, as a method of placing strain on the UK authorities, to quote Boris Johnson in proof.

Ratcliffe mentioned he could be protesting on Monday exterior the Iranian embassy in London.

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