Published: Sun, March 10, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

United Kingdom gives British-Iranian national diplomatic protection

United Kingdom gives British-Iranian national diplomatic protection

Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's ambassador to Britain, said in a tweet Friday that the British government's move violates global law.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt meets Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's daughter Gabriella.

Diplomatic protection is a mechanism under global law according to which a state may seek to secure reparation for injury to one of its nationals on the basis that the second state has committed an internationally wrongful act against the national. Britain said yesterday it will grant diplomatic protection to Zaghari-Ratcliffe citing a lack of due process and access to medical treatment. The Foreign Office continues to work to support all our dual national detainees in Iran. "Irrespective of United Kingdom residency, Ms Zaghari thus remains Iranian (sic)".

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked as a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was detained while she was with her young daughter after visiting family in Iran in April 2016, Reuters reports.

She was sentenced to five years for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government.

The Foreign Office said Friday the move means Britain formally asserts that Iran has failed to meet its worldwide obligations in its treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

"We renew our plea for the Iranian authorities to release Nazanin as soon as possible", the statement added.

Since then her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and many human rights organisations like Amnesty International have campaigned for her release.

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The decision to elevate Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case could see tensions increase between London and Tehran.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has suffered from health issues, including undergoing tests for breast cancer and a series of panic attacks, while her emotional state has worsened during her confinement.

He said this decision should be a message to Tehran that "its behaviour is totally wrong". More than 1.5million people, from 155 countries, signed a petition calling for her to be freed; Zaghari-Ratcliffe has staged hunger strikes; the government has attempted to intervene - for better or worse - several times. Her family has denied the charges.

The move means the case will now be treated as a formal, legal dispute between the countries and allow Britain to raise Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case more easily at worldwide forums such as the United Nations.

She has also been banned from seeing an outside psychiatrist, it said.

"She was taken for an initial assessment to a doctor, who said she was surprised she was in prison given the health condition she was in". But she was returned to prison, and now gets just weekly visits from her daughter.

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