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 Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs) 1:12 pm, 17th July 2019

First, I congratulate the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn on securing this urgent question and on the powerful way in which she has been an advocate for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her constituent. I thank the Minister for his efforts and those of the current Foreign Secretary in trying to secure Nazanin’s release. We can only imagine the anguish caused by the way in which this mother is separated from her daughter, and we hope this can be swiftly resolved so that the family can be reunited. What can the Minister do to bring that about? I also want to ask him about the wider issue of the disturbing trend of Iran arresting people on trumped up charges, with them effectively becoming hostages to geopolitical disputes they have nothing to do with. That behaviour is entirely unacceptable as a tactic. As the Minister says, it risks huge reputational damage to the state, so what more can this Government, perhaps through the auspices of the United Nations, do to raise that wider issue, and to crystallise to the Iranian state and any others that wish to undertake this tactic that it is counterproductive and not acceptable?