Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a wholly innocent woman who has been hung on trumped-up expenses of espionage in Iranian jails when you consider that 2016. She holds dual British and Iranian citizenship, which the Iranian government does now not comprehend. Her husband Richard Ratcliffe has been on hunger strike straight away outdoor the Iranian embassy for the remaining fortnight, in solidarity with the starvation strike she is herself preserving in Evin prison in Tehran. The Iranian ambassador has complained that this protest makes his paintings impossible – and if it does, a lot the higher. The resolution to this crisis lies totally in Iranian palms. Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be released and reunited with her circle of relatives. However – whilst the blame for her arrest and imprisonment belongs squarely to the Iranian regime – successive British governments have made the scenario harder to remedy.
Boris Johnson’s career as overseas secretary turned into undistinguished by means of whatever besides a lack of diplomacy but pretty his worst gaffe changed into announcing that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe have been “coaching journalism” in Iran while in truth she had really been on a own family excursion. This helped the Iranian government to politicise the case in opposition to her, when you consider that unbiased journalism is a subversive activity in Iran, as somewhere else within the middle East. The Iranian government did not need any encouragement to capture and jail Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe however Mr Johnson besides gave them what he ought to. Jeremy Corbyn, to his credit, has spoken out in guide of her, and spent 40 minutes speaking to Mr Ratcliffe out of doors the embassy earlier this week.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe became arrested at the airport at the end of a family ride to take her then 22-month-old daughter to go to her grandparents. Gabriella, the daughter, is now five, and has not visible her father considering. It appears one cause changed into to use Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a hostage in opposition to the British government’s reluctance to launch £400m paid over to Britain with the aid of the shah’s government before his overthrow in 1979 as part of an arms deal that became by no means finished. For almost 40 years, British governments have refused to hand over the cash on grounds that appearance fully specious. The overseas workplace is prepared to bow to the severa courtroom judgments in Iran’s favour but the Ministry of Defence claims that the money would handiest be spent on unsavoury navy adventures. This is an excuse this is distasteful as well as risible within the mild of the United Kingdom’s help for Saudi Arabia’s conflict in Yemen, that’s causing giant civilian suffering. Releasing the money will be the proper component to do. It’d additionally be expedient.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family are the completely harmless victims of global energy politics. Freeing her, and reuniting them, is the clear ethical duty of the Iranian government. The Zaghari-Ratcliffes have been on their hunger strikes, one in England and one in Tehran, for two weeks. It’s miles beyond time to end their suffering with an act of justice and generosity.