Tehran, September 9
A British Iranian twin nationwide held in Tehran in an internationally criticised espionage case faces a brand new cost, Iranian state tv introduced on Tuesday, elevating fears she may very well be compelled to return to jail following her momentary launch.
The report, citing an unnamed official, didn’t elaborate past saying that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appeared Tuesday morning earlier than a department of the nation’s Revolutionary Court in Tehran, the place she was first sentenced to jail on murky espionage expenses in 2017.
Calls to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s legal professional and the courtroom weren’t instantly returned. Her husband mentioned early Wednesday that the brand new cost “hit us hard”.
“We had long been warning the government that the closer we got to the end of Nazanin’s sentence, the more there was a risk of Iran opening again a second case to threaten holding her more,” Richard Ratcliffe mentioned in an announcement.
He mentioned his spouse was anticipated again in courtroom on Sunday earlier than Judge Abolghassem Salavati. The choose is thought for his powerful sentences and has heard different politically charged circumstances, together with one during which he sentenced Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to jail.
The new indictment comes as Britain and Iran negotiate the discharge of some 400 million kilos (USD 530 million) held by London, a fee the late Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi made for Chieftain tanks that have been by no means delivered.
The shah deserted the throne in 1979 and the Islamic Revolution quickly put in the clerically overseen system that endures at the moment.
Authorities in London and Tehran deny that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is linked to the reimbursement deal.
But a prisoner trade that freed 4 American residents in 2016 noticed the US pay an analogous sum to Iran the identical day of their launch. Richard Ratcliffe mentioned Wednesday that “Nazanin’s arrest always was about the debt” from the tank sale.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe this spring was granted momentary launch from jail as a result of coronavirus pandemic after serving practically all of her five-year sentence, elevating hopes she would quickly return dwelling to Britain.
Iran has been hit laborious by the virus, turning into the worst-affected nation within the Middle East with greater than 391,000 reported circumstances and 22,542 deaths. In the wake of the pandemic, Iran furloughed greater than 100,000 inmates over fears of unchecked contagion in its crowded prisons.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case has stirred tensions between Iran and Britain, the place on Tuesday her native lawmaker in London, Tulip Siddiq, confirmed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been taken to courtroom and would face one other trial Sunday in what she referred to as “an extremely worrying development”.
Siddiq urged the British authorities to demand transparency from Iranian authorities and resolve “the outstanding issues” in Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case, together with the long-running debt dispute. AP