World

Iranian report on prisoner swap ‘disinformation’ suggests UK

Richard Ratcliffe protests outdoors Iranian embassy in London – Reuters

Iranian studies on a deal to launch British and American prisoners – together with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – might have been deliberate disinformation on Tehran’s half, Overseas Minister James Cleverly steered on Monday.

“We have now additionally seen various events the place the Iranian regime has used disinformation, we now have been listening to inaccurate studies popping out up to now two days,” he informed Sky Information.

His feedback got here as Iran formally denied Sunday’s state media report by which an unnamed Iranian official claimed {that a} an agreement had been reached to release Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe in alternate for the reimbursement by the UK of a weapons debt relationship from the Seventies.

“On the one hand, they are saying that these procedures are reliable, we don’t agree with that in any respect, however additionally they say that they’re associated to this authorized dispute – it can’t be each,” he stated. Mr Cleverly stated, referring to the prison expenses in opposition to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and the cash the UK owes Iran.

“We are saying it very, very clearly. It’s as much as the regime in Tehran to launch these folks and they need to be launched,” he stated.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated efforts to free Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe remained separate from talks to repay the £ 400million to Iran, which stems from the UK’s failure to ship quickly the Chieftain tanks and armored automobiles ordered and paid for by the Shah of Iran. earlier than its overthrow in the course of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

“There are two completely separate points,” the prime minister informed reporters.

“We’re in fact ensuring to do every thing we will to defend the pursuits of Nazanin and any very tough double nationwide instances that we now have in Tehran,” he stated.

After the UK and US turned down a prisoner alternate deal, Iran’s Overseas Workplace admitted on Monday that no such deal had been reached.

“Data from well-informed sources just isn’t confirmed, as has been stated up to now,” Overseas Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh informed a press convention on Monday.

However he steered with out specifying that the choices remained open: “There are at all times plans and concepts to pursue.”

The dispute unfolds as Western and Iranian negotiators in Vienna search to salvage the Iran nuclear take care of world powers, which then-US President Donald Trump deserted in 2018.

British Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab stated on Sunday that Iran was treating Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe within the “most abusive and torturous method”.

Mr Raab accused Iran of exploiting Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been detained in Tehran since 2016, for hostage diplomacy.

“Nazanin is illegally detained in my view beneath worldwide legislation, I believe she is handled in essentially the most abusive and torturous method,” Mr Raab informed the BBC.

After serving her preliminary five-year sentence for espionage in March, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to a more year in prison last week for doing propaganda in opposition to the Islamic republic, which she denies.

“I believe that’s tantamount to torturing the best way she is handled and there’s a very clear and unequivocal obligation for the Iranians to launch her and all those that are being held as leverage instantly and unconditionally,” stated Mr. Raab.

When requested whether or not the UK authorities believed Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held hostage, Mr Raab replied: “I believe it is rather tough to dispute this qualification.”

On Monday, Mr Raab was as a consequence of meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the G7 in London, the place Iran was on the agenda.

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