British mum jailed in Iran could face further charges

British mum jailed in Iran could face further charges

Iran is preparing fresh charges against jailed British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband has said, as he called on the British Foreign Secretary to prioritize the safety of British citizens over "commercial interests" with the Islamic Republic.

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife is "shaken and bewildered" after learning she could face new charges.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested during a visit to show her baby daughter Gabriella to her parents.

Mr Ratcliffe believes a case is being opened against her as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson prepares to meet his French and German counterparts and European Union high representative Federica Mogherini for talks on Iran in Brussels.

A judge told Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe that he was powerless to release her because every time he asked to review her case "the message comes back that the United Kingdom has not yet paid its debt", her family said in a statement.

"After the news of a new court case again, yesterday was one of those days". "Failure to make it safe for people to be free from being held arbitrarily, free to visit their families in peace, will make any deal impossible to sustain".

The foreign office said that Johnson would also be raising all the UK's Iranian consular cases during the meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson said on Monday that he would work with his colleagues in Germany and France to ensure that business could continue with Iran despite the decision by the United States to pull of the nuclear deal. "Iranian policy is not making it safe for Iranian citizens". Governments should not downplay the significance of this fact.

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Ratcliffe said the United Kingdom "needs to do better by British Iranians" and is "failing to protect them".

"Yet from leaving no stone unturned, we are again in the midst of a new phase of stone collecting".

He said his wife's case and those of other dual nationals imprisoned in Iran should be top of Johnson's priority list when he meets his Iranian counterpart in Brussels, where they are due to discuss the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr Johnson said Britain stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Paris on the need to preserve the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The couple's MP, Labour's Tulip Siddiq, attended the meeting with Johnson a year ago, but recently said she believes the Zaghari-Ratcliffes are being stonewalled by the Foreign Office.

The plan removed sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran giving up its military nuclear programme.

Richard said: "The case against Nazanin is part of a pattern. We hope that the Foreign Secretary's visit brings success second time round".

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