Friday, 15 December, 2017

United Kingdom 'to pay Iran £450m' to release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Boris Johnson to Meet Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband over escalating her case to 'diplomatic protection' status Britain to transfer outstanding £400m debt to Iran in coming days, Iranian ambassador says
Howard Terry | 19 November, 2017, 02:20

"The psychological pressures upon Nazanin Zaghari and her husband due to their young child is appreciable as they have a young child kept far from them by Zaghari's parents in Iran", said Mr. Baeedinejad.

Writing on his Telegram account, Mr Baeedinejad said: "An outstanding debt owed by the United Kingdom to Tehran will be transferred to the Central Bank of Iran in the coming days".

Separately, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has vowed to make every effort to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was imprisoned 19 months ago on charges of sedition.

She was sentenced to five years in prison after an Iranian court convicted her of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment.

Foreign Office officials are trying to find ways to release the historical sum - owed for a cancelled arms deal in the 1970s - in the face of United Nations sanctions.

The bill dates back to 1976, when the Shah of Iran paid an estimated £450m to the British government for 1,750 Chieftan tanks and other vehicles.

According to him, Britain received an advance payment from Iran and delivered some tanks in the next few years before the Islamic Revolution, but it stopped adhering to its deal commitments after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that toppled the US-backed monarch.

The UK says it is unable to pay the debt because of worldwide sanctions on Iran. Talks to resolve the issue have been going on for many years.

Sky's Defence Correspondence Alistair Bunkall said the money should not be considered a ransom payment.

"During the calls and negotiations, we have reassured the British side that from the humane aspect of the issue, Iranian officials will do their best to help Ms. Zaghari and her family", said Mr. Baeedinejad.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman denied there was any link between the debt and the charity worker's case.

"They are separate things, but it is good for the atmosphere if they are all served".

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