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U.K. Foreign Secretary To Visit Iran To Press For Release Of Jailed Briton

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (right) poses with husband Richard and daughter Gabriella.

Britain says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Iran on December 9 to meet with his Iranian counterpart and lobby for the release of an Iranian-British woman jailed in Tehran.

Johnson's office did not identify jailed aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by name in its December 8 statement but said that he would press for the release of dual nationals being held in Iran when he meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is already serving a five-year prison sentence for allegedly planning the "soft toppling" of Iran's government while traveling there with her toddler daughter, faces fresh propaganda charges that could add 16 years to her prison term.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity that operates independently from the Reuters news agency. She denies the charges against her.

Johnson faced calls to resign last month after saying 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. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has said she was not working in Iran.

The trip to Iran will be Johnson's first and only the third by a British foreign secretary since 2003. The last such visit happened in 2015.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said Johnson and Zarif are expected to discuss "a wide range of issues from the bilateral relationship to regional security."

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, CNN, The Guardian, and The Telegraph