Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to push for ‘immediate release’ of British-Iranian woman

Newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has promised to push for the immediate release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during talks with Iran in New York.

Ms Truss is due to meet Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday after their meeting was postponed from earlier this week.

The foreign secretary said she would be “hard headed” and “proactive” in her approach to securing the release of detained British-Iranians.

She said: “I’ve already spoken to the families of the detainees in Iran.

“It’s completely unacceptable that they’re being held there and I’m going to be very proactive in pushing for their release.”

When asked what she would say to the Iranians, she said she would be pushing for Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s “immediate release”.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of several dual British nationals currently detained in Iran.

She was detained in Tehran in 2016 while taking her daughter Gabrielle to see her family and held on allegations of spying – claims which have been widely refuted.

However, her husband – Richard Ratcliffe – told Sky News on Monday that he is “not very confident” of a breakthrough in her case.

He held a 10-minute phone call with Ms Truss and said his wife’s case should be the top priority, with the government tackling hostage-taking head on.

Mr Ratcliffe told Kay Burley his wife feels “more reassured” after his call, but he believes the case still has more time to run.

“There’s been lots of foreign secretaries that have met with the Iranians, lots of negotiations have been happening, particularly in the last year,” he said.

“I spoke to the former foreign secretary [Dominic Raab] a month ago where he said ‘listen, we got really close but we didn’t get it over the line’.

“I think there’s been a change of leadership in Iran as well.

“We need to see where things are and whether things have kind of where they were, in which case it could be quite hopeful, or whether they’ve slipped back a long way.”

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told LBC the previous day that he believed Ms Truss would bring “energy” to the negotiations.

Ms Truss is also expected to bring up the cases of detainees Anoosheh Ashoori and Morad Tahbaz, and will also call on the country to comply with its nuclear commitments.

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