U.S. and UK refuse to report imminent prisoner deal with Iran

London — The United States and the United Kingdom are breaking prisoner exchange agreements with British and Iranian women, Nazanin Zagari Ratcliff, and Tehran, who may see the imminent release of four Americans in particular. I rejected the report.

Iran was an important topic in the discussion Monday between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his host in London, British Secretary of State Dominic Raab. Their meeting was held the day before the first face-to-face meeting of foreign ministers from a group of seven major industrialized nations over a two-year period, primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic. Iran, Ukraine, China, Russia, climate change and COVD-19 are expected to dominate the negotiations.

Blinken’s visit to London was the first since he was appointed President Joe Biden, amid growing speculation about a prisoner exchange agreement with Iran. Such exchanges are not uncommon and were characteristic of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s major nations. Biden has indicated that his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, is considering resuming nuclear talks with Tehran after removing the United States from the deal in 2018.

“The report from Teheran is not accurate,” Blinken said in a post-conference press conference, adding that it was “not a high priority” over taking all detained Americans home.

“More broadly about this, we must oppose the arbitrary detention of citizens for political purposes,” he said.

Raab also dismissed the imminent breakthrough prospects in Iran’s report that Britain would pay £ 400m ($ 550m) in debt to secure the release of Zagari Ratcliff. He claimed that the British government was “very focused” on the release of British citizens detained in Iran.

“I think Iran is obliged to release those who are unconditionally, arbitrarily and in our view illegally detained,” Rab said.

Ichard Ratcliff protests outside the Iranian embassy in London
Richard Ratcliff, the husband of British and Iranian aid workers Nazanin Zagari Ratcliff, and his daughter Gabriella protest outside the Iranian embassy in London, England, on March 8, 2021. (Andrew Boyers / Reuters)

In the UK, we are particularly interested in the well-being of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was sentenced to one year in prison for spreading “propaganda to the system” last week.

The two diplomats discussed a range of topics, including sanctions on Russian citizens, climate change, and Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan later this year. This process began in earnest over the weekend. Its positive action against Russia and Ukraine was also on the agenda, and Blinken was scheduled to travel to Ukraine’s capital Kiev on Wednesday.

Biden will also take a new approach to North Korea following a policy review completed last week. Blinken, who met with Japanese and South Korean counterparts in London on Monday, said the new approach was “practical and coordinated” and urged Pyongyang leaders to “take the opportunity to engage diplomatically.”

Larb and Blinken
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab (R) greets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a bilateral conference in London, England on May 3, 2021. (Pool via Ben Stansol / Reuters)

On Tuesday, the top G-7 diplomats (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA) will meet with colleagues from other selected countries, including Australia, India and South Africa. is. ..

Prior to the rally, German Foreign Minister Mars warned that “authoritarian nations” around the world were “trying to fight each other” and that violations of international law were commonplace.

“It is important for us to unite and credibly maintain the values ​​of democracy, the state of law, human rights, and the rule-based world order for them,” he said.

The UK Foreign Ministry said the G7 Minister will help women in developing countries access jobs, build resilient businesses and recover from the coronavirus pandemic for $ 15 billion over the next two years. Said to invest in development funds.

They are also expected to promise to send 40 million girls to school and 20 million girls to read by the age of 10 in poor countries by 2026.