Detention of British-Iranian Citizens

I strongly condemn the Iranian authorities’ continued imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi and I share the understandable concerns that have been raised about their cases.

I am aware that requests for consular assistance have been rejected by the Iranian authorities on the grounds that the country does not recognise dual nationality. However, this is a human rights problem and reports around welfare and access to medical treatment are worrying.

These cases have received a lot of public attention and the Government continues to be pressed on them in Parliament. I am aware that Ministers have repeatedly raised these cases with the Iranian Government and I also understand that the Prime Minister has raised concerns about them directly with the President of Iran on numerous occasions.

I welcome the Foreign Secretary’s recent clarification of comments he made about Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case, and that he made a telephone call to the Iranian Foreign Minister to provide further clarification. The Foreign Secretary’s words had originally put the interests of a British citizen abroad at risk and resulted in distress and anguish for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family.

However, responsibility for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s incarceration ultimately lies with the Iranian authorities. I believe she should be released from prison and brought home as soon as possible. Quietly raising concerns about these cases is clearly no longer good enough and I believe the Government must demand action and speak out against the continued detention of these citizens.  I will write to the Foreign Secretary on behalf of the residents of Ipswich to add our voices to the people who are speaking out for justice for Nazanin and Kamal.

This situation is understandably distressing for Nazanin and Kamal’s families and I hope that the Government will redouble its efforts towards securing their release. I can assure you I will continue to follow any developments closely.