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AFP
March 13, 2019

‘UK diplomatic protection of jailed mother won’t make things easier’

World

AFP
March 13, 2019

TEHRAN: Iran’s foreign ministry warned the UK on Tuesday that giving diplomatic protection to a British-Iranian mother jailed in Tehran would not make the situation "easier", state news agency IRNA reported.

Britain on Friday extended the status to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in Tehran in 2016. "What is certain is that the British government’s move lacks goodwill and is in no way constructive or positive," said ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on Tuesday.

"If it does not make the situation more complicated, it will surely not make things easier." Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation -- the media organisation’s philanthropic arm -- is serving a five-year jail sentence for sedition.

She has denied all the charges against her. Diplomatic protection is a rarely-used mechanism allowing governments to seek protection for their citizens on the grounds that they have been wronged by another state.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Friday that London would take the "extremely unusual" step of extending diplomatic protection to the jailed mother. This would signify the "formal recognition by the British government that her treatment fails to meet Iran’s obligations under international law", he said.

But Ghasemi denied this, saying Zaghari-Ratcliffe is "enjoying all legal and citizenship rights -- both throughout her trial proceedings and during the conviction period", including medical care.

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