Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:11 pm on 7th October 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) 7:11 pm, 7th October 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I am not interested in political point scoring. I am interested in getting Nazanin back home. I pay tribute to Richard Ratcliffe, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. I was struck by his sincerity. He has done an extraordinary job on behalf of Nazanin, and I salute him for that. The hon. Gentleman is right—Iran is acting unlawfully under international humanitarian law, which it has clearly breached. It needs to be brought back into line. My advice to my interlocutors in Tehran, if it were sought, would be, “Do so, and your reputation will increase. You will be one step closer to being shoulder to shoulder in the international panoply of nations, which is where you desire to be.”

This does Iran no good. I appeal on humanitarian grounds in relation to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. I would also appeal on the basis of Iran’s reputation. While these harrowing, dreadful cases continue, it cannot possibly expect to be able to deal with the wider world in the way that, I think, it wishes.

The hon. Gentleman asked about access. He must know that our access to Nazanin is non-existent. We are forbidden by Tehran to access Nazanin in the way that we would expect to have access to British nationals. I regret that. It would be extremely helpful to move this on if we were allowed to have access to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. I would strongly urge my ministerial interlocutors to consider that as a reasonable thing for us to have. That is what we require as a minimum in the near future so that we can determine for ourselves many things on which the hon. Gentleman touched.