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Iran 'demands millions of pounds' to hand over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Iran 'demands millions of pounds' to hand over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Iranian officials have handed the Foreign Office a number of multi-million pound demands in exchange for freeing Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, according to reports.

Foreign Office ministers were told in a meeting the Iranian government expects the numerous demands to be met before the British mother will be released.

They include Britain settling a 38-year old bill for £400m for going back on a deal to sell Chieftan tanks to the country. 

And the Iranian embassy in London wants to be allowed to open a bank account - at the moment it physically hordes cash to avoid US sanctions.

Tehran also wants Britain and other European countries to open businesses there in a bid to show the nuclear deal has been prosperous. 

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been locked up in an Iranian jail for the past 18 months, and was warned last week that her five year sentence could be doubled after Boris Johnson told MPs she had been arrested for "training journalists".

The Foreign Secretary has since admitted he "could have been clearer" in his remarks, which have led to calls for him to be sacked by Theresa May.

The Sun reported although Iran is actively asking for a trade between the demands and Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release, ministers were left in little doubt following the meeting the requests were in exchange for the mother’s freedom. 

One minister told the paper: “The Iranian regime conducts foreign policy by hostage taking. It always has done.

“Nazanin’s case is no different. This time, they want us to pay up.”

Mr Johnson will meet Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband for the first time later today. 

The Foreign Office said the pair will discuss Richard Ratcliffe’s request his wife be given “diplomatic protection” and will talk about a possible joint trip to Iran before the end of the year.

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