Many of you have contacted me with concerns about the continued detention of British prisoners in Iran. Last week I attended the Westminster Hall debate on British Prisoners in Iran, led by Tulip Siddiq MP. Earlier this year, I contacted the Foreign Secretary calling on him to take urgent action to secure the release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe (a former resident of Brockley) and other detainees and I will continue to press the Government to take action on this issue.
Iran does not recognise dual nationality of Iranian citizens and have denied detainees consular access. The British government has now contacted the Iranian government on a number of occasions regarding this issue.
During the debate, MPs including Tulip Siddiq and the Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt discussed the problems faced with British citizens with dual citizenship, the detainees in Iran, Britain’s relationship with Iran, and how Iran continuously breaches human rights.
Tulip Siddiq stressed that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case is ‘a matter of life and death’. Siddiq also criticised the Government for not speaking out on Nazanin or other detainee’s innocence publicly and asked why the Foreign Secretary will not meet with the families. She then urged the Government to do more to secure the release of all British prisoners in Iran.
Finally, the Minister of State for the Middle East - Alistair Burt responded to the MPs, families and others concerned by recognising the intense interest in this issue throughout the UK. He mentioned that he had met some of Zaghari-Ratcliffe relatives and attempted to assure MPs that his department was working hard to deal with this issue. I hope that the Government will continue to make representations on behalf of the affected families to the Iranian Government and that all of these cases can be resolved as soon as possible.
I am glad that the debate was called and that more attention is being given to such a sensitive and important issue. I will continue to press on until there is a complete release of all British detainees in Iran.
Read my previous blogpost on British prisoners in Iran here, including a letter I received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.