British-Iranians Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Anoosheh Ashoori freed

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori, who had been detained on ‘secret’ charges by the Iranian Government since 2016 and 2017 respectively, are now reunited in the UK with their families.

The Iranian Government arrested Zaghari-Ratcliffe when she was visiting Iran with her daughter for the Iranian New Year. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said she was leading a “foreign-linked hostile network” when she visited. No official charges were made public. Businessman Anoosheh Ashoori was arrested in 2017 while visiting his mother on spying charges.

Morad Tahbaz, another dual-national, has been released from prison but is not yet allowed to leave Iran. Foreign secretary Liz Truss said that they were working on his return.

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Truss said in the British House of Commons that the agonies faced by the arrested individuals and their families “must never happen again”.

In parallel, the UK government has said it settled a £400m debt owed to Iran from the 1970s, with a condition that the funds be used only for humanitarian purposes.

The £393.8m debt refers to a cancelled order for 1,500 Chieftain tanks dating back to the 1970s. This unpaid debt was considered to be the reason for the arrest and detention of the dual-nationals, but the government has maintained that these two issues must not be linked.

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