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Johnson Meets Rohani, Discusses Case Of Jailed Iranian-British Woman


British Foreign Secretary In Iran To Push For Jailed Briton's Release
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Tehran as he continued efforts to gain the release of a jailed Iranian-British woman.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said on December 10 that Johnson and Rohani "spoke forthrightly" on several issues, including the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, according to the BBC.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been held since April 2016 for allegedly plotting against Iran's government, which she denies.

The spokesman described Johnson’s two-day visit -- only the third by a British foreign secretary to Iran since 2003 -- as "worthwhile," adding that "progress in all areas" was agreed.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Johnson met December 9 with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to lobby for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.

The two men also discussed "the obligations of all parties to implement” the 2015 nuclear accord signed between Iran and six world powers, according to Iran's Foreign Ministry.

The United States has cast doubt on the future of the deal, which provided Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities.

However, the other signatories to the accord --Britain, China, Germany, France, and Russia -- continue to support the agreement.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year prison sentence for allegedly planning the "soft toppling" of Iran's government while traveling there with her toddler daughter.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity that operates independently from the Reuters news agency. She insists she was in Iran on a personal visit. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has also said she was not on assignment while in Iran.

Johnson faced calls to resign last month after saying in Parliament that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been "training journalists" in Iran prior to her arrest last year, comments that critics said could lead to an extended prison sentence for her.

He later apologized and said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was not in Iran in a professional capacity.

Iranian officials have cited Johnson's statement in their effort to bring new propaganda-related charges against Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Iran has held several foreigners on charges such as espionage, many of them Iranians with dual citizenship.

With reporting by the BBC, Reuters, AP, The Guardian, The New York Times, and AFP

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