The Guardian | Patrick Wintour; Debt seen as stumbling block for release of British-Iranians including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has for the first time acknowledged that he is actively seeking to pay a debt to the Iranian government that could finally help to secure the release of British dual nationals including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Wallace assured lawyers acting for the families that the government was exploring every legal avenue to pay the debt, which for the first time he formally acknowledged the government owes.
The admission came in a letter to the lawyers acting for Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been detained in Iran in jail and then house arrest since 2016.
The UK is thought to owe as much as £400m to the Iranian government arising from the non-delivery of Chieftain tanks ordered by the Shah of Iran before his overthrow in 1979.
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