June 19, 2019

Will Britain move to protect its detained citizens in Iran prisons?

Will Britain move to protect its detained citizens in Iran prisons?
Supporters hold a photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during a vigil

A British mother who has been in prison in Iran for about a year is suffering fatal health conditions, while the British government do nothing to protest the situation of its citizen and keeps normal relations with the Iranian regime.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38-year-old from Hampstead in London, has been in prison in Iran since April, after being arrested while visiting family in Tehran.

The dual-nationality citizen, who was on holiday with daughter Gabriella at the time, was jailed for five years after being accused of being a Western Spy despite no evidence being put forward to support the claims.

She is awaiting treatment for several out of place neck vertebrae, damage caused by months of having no bed, poor exercise and stress.

But despite the recommendations of specialists the charity worker has been still not been admitted to hospital from the country;s notorius Evin Prison for emergency treatment.

Her family have been pressing for her to receive hospital treatment that they have been told is vital.

Her husband, Richard, explained on change.org that her neck and back problems have worsened over the last few months.

‘Without urgent treatment Nazanin runs the risk of permanent impairment,’ he wrote.

Nazanin and Richard’s two -year-old daughter is also still in Iran, and is living with her grandparents in the same city her mother is imprisoned in. She is able to visit her once a week

The Foreign Office has said previously that it is prepared to bring her home, but has been able to do less in her mother’s case as “Iran doesn’t recognize dual nationality citizens.”

Not the only case

This is not the only case of dual nationality citizens in Iranian prisons.

Last October, aAn Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian-American businessman and his elderly father to 10 years in prison and fined $4.8 million, on charges of cooperating with the US.

Siamak Namazi was arrested nearly a year ago and became the first US citizen reported to have been detained in the country since the announcement of the Iranian nuclear program deal.

The IRGC in February arrested his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, quoted by Fars, confirmed their sentences.

Security officials have arrested dozens of artists, journalists, and businessmen, including Iranians holding joint American, European or Canadian citizenship, as part of a crackdown on “western infiltration”.

Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning those detained cannot receive consular assistance. In previous cases involving dual nationals, like the detention of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, officials initially announced indictments had been handed down without providing specifics. Later, news organizations with close ties to security services offered details of the charges.

Those detained typically face trial in Iran’s Revolutionary Court, a closed-door tribunal which handles cases involving alleged attempts to overthrow the government.

Despite these incidents and Iran’s long history in breaching basic rights and barring women rights, the US and the P5+1 powers made the famous Nuclear deal with Iran, lifting most international sanctions and opening the door for economic deals with the country, without forcing any conditions related to human rights or better treatment of the prisoners in Iranian prisons