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UK-Iranian charity worker faces trial in Iran

Wednesday 13 July 2016, by siawi3

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-36767202

11 July 2016
From the section UK

A British-Iranian woman is among three dual nationals who will go on trial in Iran, Tehran’s prosecutor has said.

Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been "referred to the court" along with a US-Iranian and a Canadian-Iranian.

The charges were not specified, but officials have previously accused Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, of leading a "foreign-linked hostile network".

The Foreign Office said it had raised the case "at the highest levels".

The announcement that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, US-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi and Canadian-Iranian academic Homa Hoodfar had been charged was reported by the Iranian judiciary’s official news website.

Mr Jafari-Dolatabadi did not say whether the three would be tried by a Revolutionary Court - a closed-door tribunal which handles security-related cases.
Image caption Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was visiting family with her daughter Gabriella when she was arrested

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of north London, works for the London-based Thomson Reuters Foundation charity.

She was detained in April before boarding a flight back to the UK with her two-year-old daughter Gabriella.

Her British husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has dismissed the charges.

On Monday, he said a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had told her family that she would be released as long as the British government reached "an agreement" with them, the Associated Press reported.

Gabriella has also been forced to remain in Iran in the care of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family, as her passport was seized.

A spokeswoman said the Foreign Office was doing "all we can on this case".

"However, Iran does not recognise dual nationality and therefore does not grant access to dual nationals," she said.

"We have raised this case repeatedly and at the highest levels and will continue to do so at every available opportunity."

’Dabbling in feminism’

US officials have repeatedly called for the release of Mr Namazi, a consultant who was working in the United Arab Emirates for Crescent Petroleum, whose family says he has been detained since October.

Mr Namazi’s 80-year-old father Baquer was reportedly himself detained in February, but Iranian officials have not confirmed this.

Ms Hoodfar, 65, a professor of anthropology at Montreal’s Concordia University, was initially detained in March but then released. Three months later, she was arrested again and transferred to prison.

Her family says she has been accused of "dabbling in feminism and security matters".

Mr Jafari-Dolatabadi said Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese permanent resident of the US, would also face trial.

The technology expert was arrested in September, when he was visiting Tehran to speak at a conference on the role of women in sustainable development.

Iranian state media said in November that he was accused of having links to the US military and intelligence agencies.