Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - July 2019
This really is a very sad situation and the Ratcliffe family have all of my sympathy. Sadly, I was unable to get to see Richard while he was on his own hunger strike but the family are aware of my support. As you might know, I am Chair of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and we have spoken with the Foreign Secretary and his predecessors, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, multiple times about this case. It is essential that as much diplomatic pressure is applied as possible to ensure that Nazanin can be reunited with her family as soon as possible.
More generally the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) works for all dual nationals in Iran - as, unfortunately, it is not just Nazanin who is affected. The FCO tries to secure access to them and ensure their welfare. The fundamental issue is the Iranian government refusing to recognise dual nationality, which means they don't accept our request for consular access. As you may have seen the Prime Minister herself has raised this directly with President Rouhani of Iran at the UN Security Council meeting last year.
In the past few weeks the FCO has taken the decision to grant Nazanin diplomatic protection. This is a tool which identifies that we, as a country, believe that Iran's treatment of her has failed to meet international standards, elevating it beyond normal consular assistance and diplomatic pressure. Indeed, it is now at the stage of a legal dispute between Britain and Iran. Though it might not seem much, internationally this is a highly significant step as it highlights how we will not stand by while a citizen is treated so unfairly.
I hope this is helpful and I too hope Nazanin can return home as soon as possible.