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Jeremy Hunt vows to do everything possible to free charity worker jailed in Iran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual citizen, is serving a five-year sentence after being convicted of spying charges in 2016.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged to do everything possible to secure the release of a charity worker jailed in Iran, after talks with her husband.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison in 2016 after being accused of spying.

Mr Hunt met the British-Iranian woman’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, on Thursday to discuss the “shocking and desperate” situation.

He said: “Good to meet Richard Ratcliffe and his family yesterday.

“It’s a shocking and desperate situation and they are showing extraordinary strength and resilience, as is Nazanin. We will do everything we can to bring her home.”

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson faced criticism over his handling of attempts to free the mother-of-one.

In April, Mr Ratcliffe spoke of his disappointment at Mr Johnson’s failure to secure his wife’s release.

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and their daughter, Gabriella (PA)

The former Cabinet minister faced a backlash for telling a parliamentary committee that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran to train journalists, which he later acknowledged was not the case.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is facing a further hearing over an unspecified security charge which her family believes will include an accusation of spreading propaganda against Tehran’s Islamist regime.

She has consistently denied all allegations, insisting she was on holiday to introduce her daughter to her family.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, said: “The Foreign Secretary’s pledge over trying to secure Nazanin’s release is very welcome, as is the fact he’s had a face-to-face meeting with Richard relatively early into his new job.

“We’d now like to see the UK Government at all levels pushing hard for Nazanin’s release.

“This has gone on far too long. Nazanin is a prisoner of conscience who should never have been jailed in the first place. She should be freed and allowed to travel back to the UK with her young daughter Gabriella.”

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