Al-Monitor- Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Iran on Dec. 10. Ahead of the trip, Johnson said that he would address British concerns over the imprisonment of dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested and sentenced in 2016 to five years in prison.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is employed by Thomson Reuters Foundation, was charged with plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, a charge Johnson addressed before his visit when he said, “She was simply teaching people journalism.” Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and employer say she was in Iran for a vacation. Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, downplayed that Johnson would address Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case, tweeting Dec. 9 ahead of Johnson’s trip, “There are a lot of speculations about the agenda of the visit of the UK Secretary Johnson to Tehran, but the two sides will surely best use of the time to discuss wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, particularly at this sensitive moment at the region.”
Johnson’s visit made the front pages of a number Iranian newspapers. Reformist newspapers and other newspapers that are aligned politically with the policies of the Hassan Rouhani administration focused on the potential of economic ties between Iran and Britain. Ali Asghar Farazi, Iran’s former ambassador to Hungary and Romania, wrote in Iran newspaper, which operates under the Rouhani administration, that economic relations between the two countries were of prime importance. He wrote that while the two countries have more potential for mutually beneficial economic and trade ties following the nuclear deal, Britain’s ties with the United States cast a shadow over the possibility of increasing those ties. Farazi wrote that any country that follows America’s lead on foreign policy has less potential for economic ties with Iran.
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