Iran launches barrage of accusations at detained British woman
Handout (Free Nazanin campaign/AFP/File)
Iranian state television has thrown more accusations against detained Iranian-British woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe amid increased pressure on the British government to make a payment of around $530million to Tehran reported The Associated Press on Sunday.
On April 3rd 2016 Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a Thomson Reuters-Foundation employee, was arrested at Tehran airport for allegedly planning the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government. Sentenced to a five years in prison, she is expected to appear in court on December 10 to present her case on her apparent spreading of 'propaganda.'
However, new charges launched at her on Sunday could add another 16 years to her prison sentence, according to AP.
In a seven-minute report aired on Thursday by Iranian state television, it presented close-ups of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s payslips from her time working at the BBC World Service Trust in 2010. The investigative show also exhibited her email referencing the ZigZag Academy, a BBC World Service Trust project which focused on the training of aspiring Aghani and Iranian budding journalists.
As discussions currently center around Britain releasing 530 million dollars to Iran, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband told AP that the report was intending to exert as much pressure as possible on the British government. He also confirmed that the material shown, was from his wife’s email which the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have reportedly been accessing since her arrest.
The sum of money is supposedly an undelivered payment for tanks owed to Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi before he was overthrown amid the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Whilst both the Iranians and the British deny claims that the millions of pounds is associated with Zaghari-Ratcliffe there is evidence of previous payments made in return for hostages as was witnessed with the return of the Washington Post Journalist, Jason Rezaian.
The case of the British national has gained increasing traction in recent weeks, with public criticism waged at British Foreign Secretary of State Boris Johnson for not doing enough.
Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson joined those pressuring the Government to assist Zaghari-Ratcliffe and urged Johnson to “get on a plane” to Tehran and to “deal with the problem he’s so seriously exacerbated.”
Johnson was accused of jeopardizing her defense by stating in a parliamentary committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists before she was arrested -- something her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), and her family have strongly denied.
The foreign secretary later clarified his remarks, saying it was clear that she was only on holiday. He is expected to raise her case when he makes an official visit to Iran in the coming weeks.
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