British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is facing charges today in Iran’s Revolutionary Court for spreading propaganda against the regime. Zaghari-Ratcliffe
British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is facing charges today in Iran’s Revolutionary Court for spreading propaganda against the regime.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 and charged with attempting to overthrow the government by training journalists to spread anti-regime propaganda. The UK Foreign Office has stated the new charges are indefensible and unacceptable. As her initial five-year sentence is nearing its end, the new charges are seen as an attempt to extend Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment. The aid worker has been used as a political bargaining chip in an attempt to force London to refund £400 million spent by the pre-revolutionary Shah Pahlavi regime on tanks. Owing to the 1979 Revolution, the order was never delivered.
It is likely that Zaghari-Ratcliffe will be found guilty to put further pressure on London to repay the debt. Should that occur, there will likely be increased public outcry in the UK and a further breakdown of British-Iranian relations. It is possible that the UK’s recent acknowledgement of the debt may aid the defence and lead to reduced charges, but it is unlikely Zaghari-Ratcliffe or other UK nationals will be freed until payment is made, which is likely in the medium term.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.