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Iran: British Detainees

Volume 707: debated on Tuesday 25 January 2022

12. What diplomatic steps she is taking to help ensure the release of detained British citizens during negotiations with Iran. (905235)

I can assure the right hon. Lady and the House that we remain committed to securing the immediate and permanent release of those British dual nationals unfairly detained in Iran. We continue to work together with our international partners. The Foreign Secretary pressed the Iranian Foreign Minister on 8 November for Anoosheh Ashoori, Morad Tahbaz and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to be released and to return home to be with their families as soon as possible. I raised their cases with my Iranian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Bagheri Kani, on 11 November. We continue to call on Iran to do the right thing and allow the immediate release and return home of these British dual nationals.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but that was in November. Anoosheh Ashoori is on hunger strike and he needs diplomatic protection. He is innocent. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, six years a hostage: innocent. Morad Tahbaz, an environmentalist: innocent. Mehran Raoof, a trade unionist: innocent. Will the Minister commit to working closely with the United States special envoy Robert Malley to bring these innocent hostages home?

I would remind the right hon. Lady of the point I made before. Our Department works tirelessly, daily, in our attempts to bring these people home and we do so not because questions are raised in the House or sent to us in correspondence but because it is the right thing to do and it is what we are committed to doing. We work tirelessly with international partners, both in the region and across the Atlantic, to bring about the release of these people, whose detention is completely illegitimate and completely wrong and is the sole responsibility of the Iranian Government. They are the ones who are in the position to release these people and we call on them to do so immediately.