LONDON: The UK “is beginning to look weak” over its failure to protect citizens imprisoned in Iran such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 42-year-old British-Iranian dual national, has been detained in Iran since 2016, when she was sentenced to five years in prison on trumped-up charges of plotting to overthrow the regime.
Despite being afforded diplomatic protection by the UK, she has not been visited or advised by British authorities since her arrest.
Hunt said for diplomatic protection to have meaning, “there had to be consequences for Tehran.”
He added: “It is not clear to me that there have been any; something that is beginning to make us look weak.
“We must show the world that if you imprison a British citizen on trumped-up charges you will pay a very heavy price because Britain is a major player on the world stage and intends to remain one.
“Allowing ourselves to be pushed around like this at the moment of post-Brexit renewal sends the opposite signal.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s original sentence is due to end in March next year, but she appeared in court in November on charges of spreading propaganda against the regime.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said the charges are “spurious,” and the case presented the same evidence used in her original conviction.
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