Nazanin Zaghari

Iranian judiciary denies Sunday court trial for Zaghari

FNA- Senior judiciary officials rejected foreign media reports that Nazanin Zaqhari, a British citizen who has been convicted in Iran for security crimes, was to appear a court session on Sunday and that she would stand a second trial after the recent controversial remarks by Foreign Secretary Johnson about the goal of her trip to Iran.

“I, as the head of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, declare that no court session has been held for Ms. Nazanin Zaghari today,” Head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court Moussa Qazanfarabadi told FNA on Sunday.

The revolution court chief strongly rejected the recent western media reports that Zaghari might stand a second trial and her jail term could be extended after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s gaffe about her, saying, “The western media release unreal reports.”

He said no new charges have been raised against her and hence, reports that her jail term might be extended are basically flawed.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38-year-old project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in Tehran in April 2016 as she was returning to Britain.

While the British media have claimed that she was arrested after a family visit, Johnson told a parliamentary committee in November that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “simply teaching people journalism as I understand it” when she was arrested at Tehran airport last year.

These remarks received different reactions and many media outlets called on him to correct his “serious mistake”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s employer, Thomson Reuters Foundation, claimed that she hadn’t been working in Iran but was on vacation, taking her toddler daughter to visit relatives.

Then the British media claimed earlier this month that Zaghhari-Ratcliffe who has been in jail for nearly two years could appear in court again on Sunday on fresh charges that could extend her sentence by as much as 10 years due to Johnson’s gaffe.

Earlier reports said that Johson’s current visit to Iran late this week was aimed at consultations to free Zaghari by paying £400mln to Tehran. A claim which was rejected last month.

Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeedinejad said in November that Britain is due to pay its £400mln debt to Tehran soon, dismissing any link between the payment and the case of Nazanin Zaqhari.

Over £400-mln ($596mln) sum will be transferred to the Central Bank of Iran “in the coming days”, Baeedinejad wrote on his Telegram channel.

The Iranian diplomat further expressed regret over certain media attempts to link the debt pay-off to the case of Zaghari.

The payment “with regard to a 1974 arms deal has nothing to do with the case of Nazanin Zaghari who has been arrested in Iran over security charges or to any other issue,” Baeedinejad told reporters.

Also last month, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that “the British government’s debt pay-off to Iran has no connection to the case of Mrs. Nazanin Zaghari and these two issues are two separate cases.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman also stressed at the same time that there was no link between the £400mln debt owed to Iran and the fate of Zaghari.