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British-Iranian Citizens

Volume 621: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2017

4. What recent representations he has made to the Government of Iran on the imprisonment of dual British-Iranian citizens in that country. (908806)

We remain deeply concerned about the UK consular cases in Iran and continue to raise them with the Iranian Government at every opportunity, including when I visited Tehran last month and when the Foreign Secretary met his counterpart, Javad Zarif, in the margins of the Munich security conference.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. He is familiar with the case of Mr Foroughi, a 77-year-old father and grandfather to constituents of mine who has been detained in Iran’s notorious Evin prison for almost six years. Does my hon. Friend agree that at a time when Iran and the west’s relationships are under increasing scrutiny, the exercise of clemency in this case, and others like it, would demonstrate Iran’s commitment to constructive engagement with the international community?

I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend. I am grateful for the work that he has done in liaison with the family. I was able to meet Kamran Foroughi, the son, on 25 January. I spoke to Ambassador Baeidinejad about the case this morning and when I visited Tehran last month. I am pleased to see that Mr Foroughi is now going to receive the health test that he has been requesting, but my hon. Friend is absolutely right that there is a case for clemency there that I hope will be answered.

Is anyone in the British Government able to make direct contact with the Iranian revolutionary guard, because they are the people who are arresting and falsely imprisoning our nationals? Surely if we are speaking only to the puppets in Tehran, no one from Britain is going to be safe to visit that country.

I think we should be careful in the language we use. The Iranians, like those in many countries, do not recognise dual nationality, and therefore we have to conduct these matters with diplomacy. Our avenue with the Iranians, which was not there a couple of years ago, is through the Iranian Foreign Ministry and our interlocutors there. We have had communications from our Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, as I said, and now me, with our embassy opening as well.