The government of Iran on Wednesday handed over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to a UK team at Iran’s Imam Khomeini Airport after the UK reportedly paid a £400 million debt to Tehran.
Iran’s English language broadcaster Press TV has announced that the UK has “settled a long-overdue debt of $530million to Tehran”.
Meanwhile, another Iranian news agency Fars, reported that the UK had paid Iran the $530 million sum “before Zaghari-Ratcliffe release.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s local MP Tulip Siddiq said she is on her way home to the UK after being detained in Iran nearly six years ago.
Siddiq also confirmed the release of UK-Iranian detainee Anoosheh Ashoori, who was arrested in 2017 on charges of spying, which he denied.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained in 2016 and accused of plotting to overthrow Iran’s government, an accusation she has denied.
“I won’t rest until she is on UK soil, in West Hampstead, in her house,” Siddiq added.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sister-in-law Rebecca Ratcliffe told BBC News it was an “emotional day”. “It feels like we’re on the home run now but until she leaves that airport we can’t believe it,” Ratcliffe said, adding she held a phone call with Ratcliffe.
While the UK and Iranian governments have said that there is no connection between the debt and Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case, Siddiq said that the aid worker had been told she was being held because of the UK’s failure to pay the debt.
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