Aylesbury MP hails release of UK nationals in Iran

Mr Butler has praised the Foreign Secretary for her role in their release
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Aylesbury MP Rob Butler has welcomed the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori from detention in Iran, and their return to the UK overnight.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spent nearly six years in an Iranian jail after being found guilty of "plotting to topple the Iranian government".

Anoosheh Ashoori had been detained on spying charges since 2017, one year after Nazanin ran into trouble in the same country.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori arriving on home soil this morning, 
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty ImagesNazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori arriving on home soil this morning, 
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori arriving on home soil this morning, Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Both captured British-Iranian citizens, repeatedly denied the allegations brought against them by the middle-eastern authorities.

In the early hours of this morning (17 March), both were reunited with their families at RAF Brize Norton.

Their release from Iran was agreed after the UK settled a debt to Iran of £393.8m dating back to the 1970s.

The money is related to tanks Iran never received from the British Government during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Aylesbury MP Rob ButlerAylesbury MP Rob Butler
Aylesbury MP Rob Butler

A deal was thrashed out between the British Foreign Office and the Iranian Government last month.

Within that deal a third British national has been released from an Iranian jail.

Morad Tahbaz hasn't been allowed to return to the UK, but is now out of detention on furlough.

He also denies the charges brought against him in Iran.

Mr Butler said: "It is absolutely wonderful news that Nazanin and Anoosheh are now safely back in the UK and reunited with their families, after spending so much time illegally

detained in Iran.

"For far too long, they and their loved ones have suffered unimaginable trauma. It was lovely to see the joy on the faces of Nazanin's husband Richard and daughter Gabriella when they came to the House of Commons yesterday to hear the announcement that Nazanin was on her way home."

He went on to credit the work of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss who was responsible for organising the negotiations.

Mr Butler added: "Huge credit is due to the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, foreign officer minister James Cleverly, and the many diplomats who have tirelessly worked to secure the release

of Nazanin, Anoosheh and release on furlough of Morad Tahbaz.

"It is right that the UK settled its long-standing debt to Iran, a sum which was lawfully owed.

"I was very reassured to hear from Liz Truss in response to my question in the House of Commons that this money will be used entirely for humanitarian purposes."