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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: UK Government considers diplomatic protection

UK Foreign Office mulls diplomatic protection for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, after meeting her husband.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been held by Tehran since April 2016 after being accused of spying – charges she denies.

Her husband raised the issue of her being given diplomatic protection in a meeting with the foreign secretary.

The Foreign Office said lawyers would discuss the issue but said the question was whether it would help her case.

Richard Ratcliffe met with Boris Johnson after the foreign secretary said during a Commons committee hearing that Mrs Zhagari-Ratcliffe was in Iran to “train journalists” – which could lead to her five-year jail term being doubled.

He has since apologised for the remarks – made on 1 November – and retracted “any suggestion she was there in a professional capacity”.

Her family have always maintained she was on holiday with her daughter.

Mr Ratcliffe told a press conference after the meeting that diplomatic protection – which allows a state to take diplomatic action on behalf of a national – would be “important and helpful”.

The protection would signal that the UK is treating the case as a formal, legal dispute between the UK and Iran.

But he said the Foreign Office expressed reservations about whether the protection would help his wife’s case.

“They have agreed to answer the questions and then for the lawyers to sit down and talk it through. Both legally and then also practically.

“But certainly, I think it is an important thing for us to be pushing for.”

The Foreign Office said its lawyers would meet in the coming fortnight to discuss the issue further.

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Government considers diplomatic protection – BBC News