UK Gives Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Diplomatic Protection

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been given diplomatic protection. The unusual move is intended to secure the release of the joint UK-Iranian citizen who the British Government have claimed is being denied medical treatment.

Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:

“Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is an innocent woman who has spent the last three years in an Iranian jail, separated from her daughter and husband. We have been working hard to secure her release but despite repeated efforts have not been successful. We have not even been able to secure her the medical treatment she urgently needs despite assurances to the contrary.

So I have today decided that the UK will take a step that is extremely unusual and exercise diplomatic protection. This represents formal recognition by the British Government that her treatment fails to meet Iran’s obligations under international law and elevates it to a formal State to State issue.

I have not taken this decision lightly. I have considered the unacceptable treatment Nazanin has received over three years, including not just lack of access to medical treatment but also lack of due process in the proceedings brought against her. My decision is an important diplomatic step which signals to Tehran that its behaviour is totally wrong. It is unlikely to be a magic wand that leads to an overnight result. But it demonstrates to the whole world that Nazanin is innocent and the UK will not stand by when one of its citizens is treated so unjustly.

Iran is one of the oldest civilisations in the world. I know there are many in Iran who understand the unjustness of this situation. No government should use innocent individuals as pawns for diplomatic leverage so I call on Iran to release this innocent woman so she can be reunited with her family.”

Foreign Office Issues Statement on Iran

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today issued a statement alongside numerous other European countries with regards to the current situation in Iran.

A spokesperson for the FCO said:

“The UK and a number of European partners today jointly raised with Iran our deep concerns about hostile activities and plots being planned and perpetrated in Europe. Such actions are unacceptable and must have consequences.

We informed the Iranian authorities that those responsible for the June 2018 bomb plot planned in France are being included on the EU list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and will be subject to restrictive measures.

We also condemned other illegal activities, including the recent thwarted assassination plot in Denmark and two assassinations in the Netherlands.

We remain committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for as long as Iran continues to implement it in full. This agreement remains central to international efforts to halt nuclear proliferation and is crucial for the security of the region. But we are clear that this commitment does not preclude us from addressing other hostile and destabilising activities”.

Theresa May Speaks with German and French Leaders over Iran Nuclear Deal

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has spoken to Emmanuel Macron, the French President, and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, by phone regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister held separate phone calls with the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday and this morning.

They discussed the importance of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) as the best way of neutralising the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, agreeing that our priority as an international community remained preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

They agreed that there were important elements that the deal does not cover, but which we need to address – including ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires, and Iran’s destabilising regional activity.

Acknowledging the importance of retaining the JCPoA, they committed to continue working closely together and with the US on how to tackle the range of challenges that Iran poses – including those issues that a new deal might cover.

They also noted the vital importance of our steel and aluminium industries and their concern about the impact of US tariffs. The leaders pledged to continue to work closely with the rest of the EU and the US Administration with the aim of a permanent exemption from US tariffs.

Finally, they all agreed on the value of continued engagement in the E3 format (Britain, France and Germany) to advance our shared interests and our security”.

Prime Minister Meets with Swiss President

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today met with Alain Berset, the Swiss President, in Davos. They discussed the relationship between the two countries after the UK left the EU and also the problem of international terrorism.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister met President Alain Berset of the Swiss Confederation in Davos this evening. They discussed how they want to continue the excellent relations which exist between the two countries once Britain leaves the European Union.

The Prime Minister confirmed the UK’s intention to agree an implementation period with the European Union, which will give certainty to businesses and ensure they only have to adapt to a single set of changes. She also welcomed the leadership which Switzerland is showing on tackling the scourge of modern slavery.

They went on to discuss the importance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and countering the destabilising activity which Iran is carrying out in the region”.

Prime Minister Speaks to Angela Merkel by Phone on Iran and the United States

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today spoken to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, by phone to discuss numerous issues including the current situation in Iran and the United States’s new policy on the nuclear deal.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said in a statement:

“The Prime Minister spoke to Chancellor Merkel earlier this morning. They discussed Iran and President Trump’s decision not to recertify the nuclear deal. They agreed the UK and Germany both remained firmly committed to the deal. They also agreed the international community needed to continue to come together to push back against Iran’s destabilising regional activity, and to explore ways of addressing concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme. They agreed to discuss further at the European Council in Brussels next week.

They looked ahead to next week’s Council, agreeing on the importance of continued constructive progress in the UK’s exit negotiations”.

UK, French and German Governments Issue Declaration on the US Stance on Iran

The British Government has issued a joint statement with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany over the US stance on Iran.

The statement reads:

“We, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications.

We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.

At the same time as we work to preserve the JCPoA, we share concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities that also affect our European security interests. We stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues in close cooperation with the US and all relevant partners. We look to Iran to engage in constructive dialogue to stop de-stabilising actions and work towards negotiated solutions.

Our governments are committed to ensuring the JCPoA is maintained. Independent of the JCPOA, we need to make sure that our collective wider concerns are being addressed.

We have asked our Foreign Ministers to consider with the US how to take these issues forward”.

Prime Minister Meets with Iranian Foreign Minister


A Downing Street spokesman has confirmed that David Cameron, the Prime Minister, met with Mohammed Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, earlier today.

In the statement the spokesman said:

“The Prime Minister had a brief conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in the margins of the Supporting Syria conference in London today.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Zarif agreed that progress had been made on the bilateral relationship, and there was an opportunity to do more to boost trade links.

The Prime Minister raised concerns over the dual UK-Iran nationals held in Iranian prisons, pressing for swift progress in their cases”.

Philip Hammond present at reopening of British Embassy in Iran


Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, was present at the reopening of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran. The embassy closed in 2011 after it was attacked by protesters. The Iranian Government has also at the same time opened an embassy in London with Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary, in attendance.

Speaking at the reopening Hammond said:

“I am delighted to be here today. I am the first British Foreign Secretary to visit Tehran since Jack Straw in 2003, and only the third British Minister to visit since 1979. It’s a huge pleasure and privilege to be here.

Today’s ceremony marks the end of one long journey, and the start of a new, and, I believe, exciting one.

I want to thank all those who have worked so hard to bring us to this point.

First, to Mr Delfi and his team at the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and to the Iranian Chargé d’affaires in London, Mr Habibollahzadeh. We could not be re-opening today without the constructive support of the MFA whose activice engagement has made this possible.

Secondly, to the Swedish Embassy, represented by their Chargé, Ewa Nilsson, for their generous and unstinting solidarity over the last four years, initially acting as the UK’s protecting power, and continuing to help us with all manner of ways in areas from consular to finance.

Thirdly I’d like to thank our own Embassy staff, for your commitment and loyalty over the years and your determination and hard work demonstrated in getting the Embassy ready for today’s reopening. You have done an incredible job.

This Embassy, and this beautiful compound, is a special place. Britain acquired in it 1869 for 20,000 tomans, then £8,000. A huge sum, in those days, but it has repaid us many times.

It has witnessed great moments in the history of both Iran and Britain. The Bast of 1906 that led to Iran acquiring its first Constitution and National Assembly, for example. And the Tehran Conference of 1943, when Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin dined here and planned a second military front in Europe.

The attack in 2011 which forced our Embassy to close was a low point. But since the election of President Rouhani, we have seen our relationship steadily improve, step by step. In 2014, we appointed non-resident Chargés. Last autumn, Prime Minister David Cameron met President Rouhani in New York, the first meeting at that level since 1979 between the leaders of our countries.

Last month’s historic nuclear agreement was another milestone, and showed the power of diplomacy, conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, to solve shared challenges.

Re-opening the Embassy is the logical next step. To build confidence and trust between two great nations.

Iran is, and will remain, an important country in a strategically important but volatile region. Maintaining dialogue around the world, even under difficult conditions, is critical. And Embassies are the primary means of achieving this.

Over the coming months, we will work to ensure that the nuclear agreement is a success, including by making sure that it is fully implemented by all sides, and through this Embassy’s efforts we will support British trade and investment, once sanctions are lifted. That will bring benefits for Britain and the Iranian people.

And we must go on to tackle the common challenges we face together: terrorism, regional stability, the spread of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, trade in illegal narcotics, and migration.

We will not always agree. But as confidence and trust grows there should be no limit to what over time we can achieve together and no limit to our ability to discuss these issues together.

So on behalf of the British Government, I am therefore proud to declare this Embassy once again open. Thank you”.