Foreign Ministers representing leading world powers at a G7 meeting this week said the group was committed to ensuring Iran would never be able to develop a nuclear weapon, and condemned Tehran’s ongoing support for proxy militia groups in the Middle East. The comments were published in a May 5 communique about the meeting in London.
The G7 — which includes the UK, the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy — also criticized Iran for its grave human rights violations. At the meeting, the G7 called on Iran’s government to release unjustly detained dual nationals in the country, such as British-Iranians Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, whose families say Tehran is holding them hostage for political leverage.
US Foreign Secretary Anthony John Blinken said he could not comment on any talks about enabling the release of funds owed to Iran by the UK, during a radio interview with the BBC. The $556 million debt stems from the purchase of tanks shortly before the Iranian revolution in 1979, which were never delivered.
The debt is believed to be linked to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran, where she is currently serving a one year sentence for ‘propaganda against the state,’ following the completion of a five-year jail term for ‘plotting to topple the Iranian government.’ Tehran has hinted that the payment of the debt — which cannot be made unless UK and US sanctions on Iran are lifted — could pave the way for Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.
A senior Swiss diplomat in Iran was found dead after allegedly falling from a high-rise building. A spokesman for Iran’s emergency services said the diplomat, a 51-year-old woman who had been central to managing negotiations between Tehran and Washington, was found in the grounds of her apartment block. The spokesman said the cause of her death had yet to be determined.
And a fake video, broadcast on Iran State TV, showing a missile blowing up the US Capitol, sparked concerns that Tehran could be planning an air strike on the government building.
The video opens with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) marching in unison, then cuts to a missile hitting the building. The footage finishes with Iranian clerics walking towards Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem.
The short clip includes a song with lyrics that call the Capitol a ‘palace of oppression’ which is ‘destroyed’ by the IRGC. The publication of the video follows reports that Iran and the US are moving further away from any agreement on a nuclear deal.