Truss promises to push for immediate release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

The Foreign Secretary spoke with reporters on the train to Washington DC ahead of talks with her Iranian counterpart.

The Andrew Marr Show
The Andrew Marr Show

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has promised to push for the immediate release of British dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe through talks with Iran in New York.

Ms Truss is due to meet her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday after their meeting was postponed from earlier this week.

Talking to reporters on the train to Washington DC, the recently instated Foreign Secretary said she would be “hard headed” and “proactive” in her approach to securing the release of detained British-Iranians.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella (Family handout)

She said: “I’ve already spoken to the families of the detainees in Iran.

“It’s completely unacceptable that they’re being held there and I’m going to be very proactive in pushing for their release.”

Asked what she will say to the Iranians, she said: “I’m pushing for her immediate release.”

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told LBC the previous day that he believed Ms Truss would bring “energy” to the negotiations.

Asked how confident he was that Ms Truss would succeed where others had failed, he said: “Well, it is never easy negotiating with the Iranian leadership.

“But I have no doubt that she will… she’s an incredibly focused and energetic minister, she’s well-regarded for that, and I have no doubt that she will apply that energy to these negotiations.”

Ms Truss is also expected to bring up the cases of detainees Anoosheh Ashoori and Morad Tahbaz, and will also call on the country to comply with its nuclear commitments.

She said previously: “I will be asking Iran to ensure the immediate and permanent release of all arbitrarily detained British nationals in Iran, and to begin working with us to mend our fractured relations.

“The UK, US and our international partners are fully committed to a nuclear deal, but every day that Iran continues to delay talks whilst escalating its own nuclear programme means there is less space for diplomacy.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of several people with British or dual-British nationality detained in Iran.

She was held in Tehran in 2016 while taking daughter Gabriella to see her family, as authorities made widely refuted allegations of spying.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said he has called on Ms Truss to impress on Iran that “hostage-taking” is an “unacceptable practice”, and gave her the names of 10 people he accuses of being involved.

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