DUBAI, March 15 (Reuters) – The lawyer of detained British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said on Tuesday he was hopeful there would be good news soon, as Tehran and London pressed on with talks about a long-standing 400-million-pound ($520 mln) debt.
When asked whether Zaghari-Ratcliffe will be released, her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told Reuters: “I am hopeful that we will have good news soon.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment.
Her family and the foundation, a charity that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters, deny the charge.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation said that she had travelled to Iran in a personal capacity and had not been doing work in Iran. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charity organisation that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.
Iran‘s clerical establishment says Britain owes the money that Iran‘s Shah paid up front for 1,750 Chieftain tanks and other vehicles, almost none of which were eventually delivered after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 toppled the U.S.-backed leader.
Iranian officials did not comment when asked whether the amount has been paid by Britain as reported by some Iranian outlets. Both Tehran and London had repeatedly rejected associating the debt Britain owed to Iran with the fate of Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who served out most of her first sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison, was released in March 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic and kept under house arrest. In March 2021, she was released from house arrest but she was summoned to court again on the new charge.
In April 2021, she was then sentenced to a new term in jail on charges of propaganda against Iran‘s ruling system, charges she denies. However that sentence has not yet started and she is banned from leaving the country.
($1 = 0.7673 pounds)
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)