MP warns future hostages-British released in parallel with compensation-takes as Iranian

The British government will take hostages with future political motives after paying historic debt to Iran “in parallel” with the release of British Iranians Nazanin Zagari Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Asholi on Wednesday. It was questioned what kind of “practical measures” were taken to prevent the situation.

Former Labor Minister Hilary Benn said detainees’ payments and release were “always continuous” in the eyes of the Iranian administration, and Conservative Chairman Tom Tugendart of the Foreign Commission said the administration It reminded the government of a precedent that later increased hostages. He received a ransom from the United States and urged the government not to use the money to buy weapons.

Iran-British aid worker Naza Ninzagari-Ratcliff can be seen in a dateless photo handed out by her family.
Iran-British aid worker Naza Ninzagari-Ratcliff can be seen in a dateless photo handed out by her family. (Ratcliff Family Handout via Reuters)

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori have been imprisoned and detained in Iran since 2016 and 2019, respectively, and were allowed to leave the country on Wednesday after negotiations between Britain and the Iranian government. The duo is expected to be flown to the Oman Gulf countries, which are closely involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations to secure freedom, and to be flown on a government-approved flight to the Royal Air Force’s Brize Norton station in Oxfordshire. I am.

On the same day, the British government confirmed that it had approved payments of £ 393.8 million (about $ 515 million) to settle past debt “in parallel” with the release of two British Iranians. ..

In a written statement to Congress, Defense Minister Ben Wallace said he approved the payment on March 10.

The debt was the result of an unfulfilled arms transaction between the pre-revolutionary Iranian government and a British company owned by the Department of Defense.

“After the Iranian Revolution, the contract was not fulfilled despite Iran’s prepayment to the UK,” Wallace said, saying the UK and international courts later confirmed that the debt was still owed to the new Iranian administration. Added.

However, sanctions against the Iranian government have postponed debt repayment.

Mr Wallace said the UK is trying to ensure that “funds can only be used in accordance with domestic anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws, such as applicable sanctions and the purchase of humanitarian goods.”

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Richard Ratcliff (L), the husband of British Iranian Nazanin Zagari Ratcliff, has been in Iran since 2016 after a press conference outside his home in London on March 16th. Hold Gabriella (R) in your arm and take a picture. , 2022. (Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images)

The MP warmly welcomed news of the release of Zagari Ratcliff and Asholi after Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, but expressed concern that the Iranian administration could be bolded by this benefit. ..

Mr. Tugendat said he was “extremely grateful” for the two detainees to reunite with their families, but “how many impacts did the last ransom pay on the Iranian government?” I pointed out.

“The ransom payment was paid by the U.S. government a few years ago. About six months after they were paid, the Iranian government took another six American dual citizens hostage and the process. It just resumed the whole thing. Even more sadly, the money paid was used to kill hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims in Syria, “said the chairman of the Foreign Commission.

“She is warned very carefully about what this will not happen this time, the dangers that British citizens face when visiting Iran, and both of these payments end up with weapons and ammunition to kill Syrians. Can you guarantee us that there isn’t? “

Truss is that debt and detainees are “two parallel problems in our bilateral relations” and Britain is a group of Canadians and seven other countries to “end the practice of arbitrary detention”. He emphasized that he was “joining the group”.

Epoch Times Photo
On September 9, 2019, Labor MP Hilary Benn will take a photo outside the London Capitol. (Isabel Infantes / AFP via Getty Images)

Ben disputed Truss’ statement that the debt was paid “in parallel” with the release of the two dual citizens.

“But we all know that for the Iranian government it has always been continuous,” he said, “making it much more difficult for the government” from talks with other G7 foreign ministers. Asked about the “practical steps” that he wanted to secure for. Engaging hostages for political purposes. “

Mr. Truss said Ben said, “It’s right that we need to change the practices of countries that unfairly detain the people of other countries.” He added that he wanted.

Conservative Rep. Simon Hoare has put pressure on whether the fund will be used to support Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s “his” humanitarian activity. ” [sic] “Ukraine” and Truss assured MP that “the definition of humanitarian aid in this agreement is certainly not the definition of humanitarian aid that Vladimir Putin joins.”

The third detainee, Morad Tahbaz, was released from prison but remained under house arrest, Truss told MP that he was not fully released at this time due to US citizenship.

“In the case of Morado Turbaz, the real problem is that he is trilateral, which is also seen in Iran’s eyes as meaning: [United States] “We are involved,” he added, adding that the United Kingdom “is working very closely” with the United States to secure his release.

“We have secured release from his prison. Of course, we want to see him come home. We strive to achieve that with our US partners. I will continue, “added Truss.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Lily Chow


Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.