EghtesadOnline: Britain’s decision to grant diplomatic protection to a British-Iranian prisoner in Iran will not help resolve the case, the Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman said.
“The British government has not acted in good faith and its action is not a constructive and positive move,” Bahram Qasemi also told IRNA on Tuesday.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that London would hand diplomatic protection to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is convicted of spying on Iran, to underline the British government’s support for her.
Hunt said while the move is not expected to quickly bring about the desired outcome, it may help Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case, Financial Tribune reported.
“I have today decided that the UK will take a step that is extremely unusual and exercise diplomatic protection,” Hunt said in his statement cited by Reuters.
“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,” he contended.
Qasemi stressed that the decision could even “complicate matters further”.
He also said, “The measure will have no bearing on the legal process [regarding Zaghari’s case], as it is a politically motivated decision.”
Iran’s ambassador in London had earlier said on Twitter that the diplomatic protection for Zaghari was not legally credible and would not influence the convict’s case.
He also said Britain’s move “contravenes international law”.
“UK Govt’s extension of diplomatic protection to Ms. Zaghari contravenes int’l law. Govts may only exercise such protection for own nationals,” Hamid Baeidinejad tweeted.
“As [the] UK Govt is acutely aware, Iran does not recognize dual nationality. Irrespective of UK residency, Ms. Zaghari thus remains Iranian.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport and later sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.