Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Iran takes innocent people hostage to make diplomatic pawns, says former foreign minister | World news
Campaign for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has drawn worldwide attention to Iran’s hostage-taking of innocent people for use “as a pawn of diplomatic influence”, former minister said Foreign Affairs.
Welcoming Richard Ratcliffe’s efforts to secure his wife’s freedom, Jeremy Chasse says whatever the dispute between countries, we must not make blameless families suffer.
The senior Tory MP made his comments as Mr Ratcliffe, continued his hunger-strike to protest the UK government’s response to his wife’s case.
Mr Ratcliffe met the Minister of Foreign Affairs Liz truss Thursday to discuss measures to free his wife, but later said he was “frustrated” by the outcome.
The 43-year-old Anglo-Iranian aid worker has been detained in Iran since 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the regime in Tehran.
Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taking her daughter Gabriella to see her family when she was arrested and then sentenced to five years in prison, four years in prison and one under house arrest.
Mother-of-one, who has always denied any wrongdoing, is now at risk of being sent back behind bars after lose his last call.
According to her family, Iranian authorities told her she was being detained due to the UK’s non-payment of a £ 400million debt to Iran.
She is one of many British or bi-British people detained in the country.
Mr Hunt, who was Foreign Secretary from 2018 to 2019, was to see Mr Ratcliffe during his hunger strike off Whitehall.
The MP said: “He is a very, very courageous man.
“He has fought relentlessly for five and a half years since Nazanin’s arrest.
“What’s different about Richard is that he decided from the start to go public with his campaign even though the advice he and the other families were getting was not to go public.
“What this means is that the whole world has come to understand Iran’s hostage-taking and how they grab innocent people and put them in jail as a pawn of diplomatic influence.”
He added: “Whatever the differences between countries, we should never make the lives of innocent families dependent on the resolution of a diplomatic dispute.”
Mr Hunt said the Foreign Secretary was “actively engaged” in the matter and added: “We all hope and pray that Nazanin does not have to return to prison.”