Arrest Video of Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Might Spark UK Diplomatic Crisis

Published January 10th, 2019 - 11:47 GMT
(Screenshot from the footage released by a state-run Iranian TV/Twitter)
(Screenshot from the footage released by a state-run Iranian TV/Twitter)

Twitter was taken by storm after Iranian state TV released on Wednesday the first footage of the moment when Iranian authorities arrested the Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in April 2016 in Tehran.

The video was broadcast during a lengthy documentary that claims Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was part of the BBC’s efforts to undermine the Iranian state as she trained opposition journalists in Iran.

In the video, Zaghari-Ratcliffe appears leaving Tehran back to her family in the UK when Iranian officials stop her at the airport telling her an arrest warrant was issued for her which bans her from leaving the country. The video shows her shocked face when she was told that she has to go to the police station where the prosecutor will tell her the charges.

Later on, media reports that the Iranian-British mother was found guilty of spying charges and sentenced to five years in jail despite her denial.

Since then, she has sporadic access to her daughter and was denied medical treatment several times which led her to planning a three-day hunger strike, according to her husband. She has also been restricted access to make phone calls with her husband in London.

In the UK, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case has been raising diplomatic concerns. In the Commons last week, the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, warned Tehran of “digging its own diplomatic grave” if refused to release her.

Meanwhile, the documentary also showed footage of the former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, addressing the foreign affairs select committee and stating that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists. However, Iranian authorities do still believe that Johnson’s remarks were not a slip of the tongue but the truth.

The released-video has prompted massive reactions among Brits and Iranians who went to launch campaigns to pressure the UK government to demand her release.

On hashtag #FreeNazanin, human rights organizations and activists demanded the innocent Iranian-British mother release.

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