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Friday, May 14, 2021

Re: Iran releases British-Iranian aid worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe from house arrest

Iran has released British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from house arrest at the end of her five-year prison sentence, but she has been summoned to court again on another charge, Reuters reported quoting her lawyer on Sunday.

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Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who served out most of her sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison, was released last March during the coronavirus pandemic and kept under house arrest, but her movements were restricted and she was barred from leaving the country.

On Sunday the authorities removed her ankle tag.

“She was pardoned by Iran’s supreme leader last year, but spent the last year of her term under house arrest with electronic shackles tied to her feet. Now they’re cast off,” her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told an Iranian website. “She has been freed.”

Read: Britain says it’s appalled by Iran’s new case against Zaghari-Ratcliffe

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Iran’s judiciary was not immediately available to comment about the release. Her family and the foundation, a charity that operates independently of media firm Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters, deny the charge.

Kermani said a hearing for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s second case has been scheduled on March 14.

“In this case, she is accused of propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s system for participating in a rally in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009 and giving an interview to the BBC Persian TV channel at the same time,” Kermani said.

He said he hoped that “this case will be closed at this stage, considering the previous investigation”.

The detentions of dozens of dual nationals and foreigners have complicated ties between Tehran and several European countries including Germany, France and Britain, all parties to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers.

The release comes as Iran and the United States are trying to revive the deal, which former US president abandoned in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran. Tehran responded by scaling down its compliance.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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