Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 1:12 pm, 17th July 2019

The right hon. Lady has elegantly dissected the Iranian state in a very few minutes, and she probably puts her finger on it. Of course, anybody with any experience of Iran will know that there are many Irans, as I touched on in my opening remarks.

We are, of course, concerned by any access that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has to this particular case. I would say, though, that the IRGC does care about its reputation. It certainly cares about its country’s reputation, and so does the supreme leader. That reputation hangs in the balance.

The generosity and humanity with which Iran has historically been associated would be amply demonstrated if Iran were to do the right thing in respect of Nazanin. I urge it to do that, if not on Nazanin’s behalf, on behalf of Iran’s reputation, which is rightly important to it.

The right hon. Lady asks how close we are to the supreme leader and, again, she well knows, because she is a student of these things, that access to the supreme leader is exceptionally difficult. We have spoken to President Rouhani, and we routinely engage with our ministerial interlocutors, Minister Zarif and, in my case, Minister Araghchi, and we will continue to do so.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran, of course, is somewhat separate from the IRGC, and it is important to reiterate that we are ensuring the IRGC gets the message that the eyes of the world are on Iran in respect of this case and, if it continues to behave in this way, it will trample all over the good opinion that international observers might have, even now, of Iran—it will do Iran and its people no good at all.