Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Iran treatment 'amounts to torture', says Dominic Raab

Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe is seen in an undated

A 2015 atomic accord between the nations included prisoner exchanges. "We continue to call on Iran to release Nazanin immediately so she can return to her family in the United Kingdom".

However, Khamenei did not immediately discuss any proposed swap amid negotiations in Vienna over Tehran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

Even after an initial American denial, an anchorwoman on Iranian state TV still repeated the announcement.

"Some sources say four Iranian prisoners are to be released and $7 billion are to be received by Iran in exchange for releasing four American spies", the anchorwoman said.

Denying claims of the Iranian government, Sadiq Tulip, member of Parliament for Zaghari-Ratcliffe's constituency, Hampstead and Kilburn tweeted, "I am aware there are news reports circulating about the debt being paid to #FreeNazanin". The state TV report did not name the Iranians that Tehran hoped to have repatriated in the swap.

A medical assessment carried out for the human rights charity Redress found Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had post-traumatic stress disorder from her treatment in Iranian prisons and the uncertainty about her fate. It was unclear if Tehran was expecting to see Iranians freed in the swap, or who they might be. However, UK officials and her husband have denied the claims.

In a statement to the Associated Press, a State Department spokesperson said reports of its agreement "are not true".

"There is no agreement to release these four Americans". "We raise this with Iran and our interlocutors all the time, but so far there's no agreement". They are Baquer and Siamak Namazi, environmentalist Morad Tahbaz and Iranian-American businessman Emad Shargi.

Despite the American denials, there have been signs that a deal on prisoners may be in the works based on Iranian officials' remarks in recent weeks.

A British government source has downplayed reports of a £400 million deal with Iran to free jailed dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The Foreign Office said that the country continues "to explore options to resolve this 40-year-old case and we will not comment further as legal discussions are ongoing".

She has already served five years in prison after being arrested on national security charges at Tehran airport in 2016 while making her way back to the UK.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was initially detained while on holiday in Iran in 2016, when she was working as a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the news agency and data firm's philanthropic wing.

Mr Raab went on to stress that her imprisonment was "not solely" related to the arms debt.

"I think it amounts to torture the way she's being treated, and there is a very clear, unequivocal obligation on the Iranians to release her", he told BBC television on Sunday.

"That is not actually the thing that's holding us up at the moment, it's the wider context as we come up to the Iranian presidential elections and the wider elections on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) which, inevitably from the Iranian perspective, the two are considered in tandem".



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