Tag Archives: Iran

Nazanin sentenced to ANOTHER year in Iranian prison – this is what happens when you ask a Tory for help

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this wrongly-jailed woman has become a pawn in an international power struggle.

This poor woman might have been freed years ago if Boris Johnson hadn’t become involved and said the wrong thing at every opportunity.

For clarity:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.

Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian service.

Johnson was asked to help arrange the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when he was Foreign Secretary, way back in 2017 after she was first imprisoned in Iran on a false charge of sedition.

Idiot that he is, our current prime minister botched it to such an extent that she was told she may face new charges.

Now she has been convicted – again.

Nazanin’s husband Richard now believes that she is a pawn in negotiations over £400 million owed by the UK to Iran after a former ruler of that country, the Shah, paid for tanks that were never delivered because of the 1979 revolution in that country.

The current issue seems to be about interest payable on the debt. Johnson doesn’t want to pay the figure demanded by Iran, one expects.

I wrote last month that I don’t think Johnson cares what happens to Nazanin – he’d rather keep the cash.

That opinion can only be strengthened by the recent claim that he said he would rather see “bodies piled high in their thousands” than order another economic lockdown that harmed business profits.

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe sentenced to a year in Iran prison – BBC News

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Tories had five years to free Nazanin; now they can only hope she’ll be released on schedule

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: did Boris Johnson ever give a damn about this UK citizen, wrongly imprisoned in Iran?

What a pathetic defeat for the Conservatives – and for Boris Johnson in particular.

You’ll remember that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned by the Iranian authorities on trumped-up charges in 2016 – for five years.

The case was brought to the UK’s Foreign Secretary – at the time, Boris Johnson – in November 2017. And the first thing he did was make the situation worse.

He said Nazanin had been arrested because she had been “teaching journalism”. In fact, that was the reason for her arrest – a reason that she denies (the Iranian authorities related it to activism against the state).

He later tried to claim that his words had not been clear and he had meant even if she had been teaching journalism, that would not have justified her arrest. But this was not true – one of many lies he has spoken on his way to the top.

The Iranian authorities said they would use Johnson’s words against Nazanin, but he refused to apologise for worsening the situation.

Next it was rumoured that Johnson was going to pay Iran £450 million owed to that country but unpaid due to international sanctions, in return for Nazanin’s freedom…

Then it was said that he had put the brakes on that scheme for fear of upsetting US President Trump.

Nazanin went on hunger strike. While she starved, Johnson (now prime minister) was working on his suntan, on the billionaires’ playground island of Mustique.

Now, her prison sentence is due to end on March 7. And what is the UK government saying?

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that he would leave “no stone unturned” in his quest to have Zaghari-Ratcliffe released on time.

How pathetic. How humiliating. And what a let-down for Nazanin’s family, including husband Richard Ratcliffe who placed his hopes in the Tories and had them dashed on the rocks of international diplomacy.

There’s no guarantee that she will be released. The authorities in Iran have threatened to lengthen her sentence, or sentence her on new charges, on several occasions.

That will be an even greater humiliation for the Tories. Or it would be, if they cared.

Nazanin’s family do care. But the politicians probably think their agony of waiting is nobody’s business but their own.

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hopes to be freed ‘within weeks’ as the end of her prison sentence nears

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Nazanin to go back before Iranian court to face new charges – linked to Johnson’s blunder

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this wrongly-jailed woman has become a pawn in an international power struggle.


Just when it seemed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Iranian prison ordeal was coming to an end, she’s being dragged back into court.

And that country’s officials have taken great pleasure in letting us know that her plight is due to blundering Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime muppet.

Johnson was the idiot who blurted out in Parliament – in 2017, when he was Foreign Secretary – that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “training journalists”.

She had been doing nothing of the kind.

A project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, she had been doing nothing more sinister than visiting her family for the Persian New Year celebration when she was arrested in 2016.

But the Iranian authorities seized on Johnson’s idiotic remark and threatened to use it to add five more years to her five-year prison sentence.

Now – three years after Johnson misspoke, it seems they have decided to follow through on the threat:

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife will appear in court on Sunday accused of “spreading propaganda against the regime” in Iran.

Apparently that’s how they describe the teaching of journalism – which she wasn’t doing in any event.

Of course we all know that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment has more to do with the £400 million that the UK government owes to Iran.

It could not be paid before because of international sanctions – but when Boris Johnson’s career was in danger, it seems such concerns evaporated.

How contrary, then, for us to find that the money has not been paid, apparently because Johnson doesn’t want to upset Donald Trump.

Johnson, it seems, wanted to wait until after the US presidential election on November 3 because he wanted to know whether Trump would still be US president before taking action.

So the Iranian decision to go back to court now has put him in a particularly sticky situation.

Will he pay up and get Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe back?

Or will he delay, to stay on the right side of Donald Trump?

I think we all know the answer to that. Johnson is the runt of international politics.

When powerful people squabble, it is always the innocents who suffer.

Source: New Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe charges linked to Boris Johnson’s infamous gaffe – Mirror Online

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Why are ‘hostile’ states trying to hack into UK coronavirus research? Why not pool resources?

Doesn’t this say everything about the stupidity of our politicians – not just in the UK but across the globe.

Having created an atmosphere of distrust for no particular reason than they don’t like Johnny Foreigner’s politics, now that we should all be working together to beat Covid-19, it seems we’re trying to steal from each other instead.

And if Russia, Iran and China are trying to get into our research systems, what might the UK be trying to steal from them?

Hostile states are attempting to hack British universities and scientific facilities to steal research related to Covid-19, including vaccine development, cybersecurity experts have warned.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the proportion of such targeted cyber-attacks had increased, branding the criminal activity “reprehensible”.

It is understood that nations including Iran and Russia are behind the hacking attempts, while experts have said China is also a likely perpetrator.

There are thought to be dozens of universities and institutions with biomedical capacity working on Covid-19 research, ranging from new diagnostic and antibody tests to experimental treatment.

However, it is understood there have been no successful attacks on universities or research institutions to date.

Saving lives is more important than international rivalries – to anybody who isn’t a jingoistic sabre-rattling fool.

The best thing to do is make all our research freely available – because then nobody will have to cover the same ground – and tell those foreign powers they didn’t need to go to the trouble of trying to steal it.

Source: Hostile states trying to steal coronavirus research, says UK agency | Espionage | The Guardian

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Iran Crisis: Johnson paralysed as Nazanin faces even longer prison term

Nazanin: Thanks to Boris Johnson’s uselessness, it’s doubtful she’s smiling now.

Back in the day, if a British citizen faced harm abroad, the prime minister would snap into action immediately.

Lord Palmerston sent a gunboat and blockaded Athens in the Don Pacifico affair, to quote just one example from 1850.

Today, 170 years later, we’re stuck with Boris Johnson. He has already spent the last two years letting down Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, falsely imprisoned in an Iranian jail, and now that Donald Trump has made her situation even more precarious, it seems he’ll continue as he started.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces a possible increase in her sentence as a reprisal against the US and its allies over the airstrike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

And Boris Johnson, facing demands from her husband Richard for a meeting to establish how the government plans to keep her – and other dual-nationality prisoners – safe, is doing exactly nothing.

He remains on holiday in the billionaires’ playground of Mustique while British citizens face the consequences of our so-called ally’s actions.

And a fat lot of good he’s doing us there.

Source: Iran crisis: Richard Ratcliffe demands meeting with Boris Johnson over wife Nazanin’s ‘desperate’ situation after Soleimani killing | The Independent

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Remember Nazanin? Johnson doesn’t – so other Brits on hunger strike in Iran will be ignored

Imprisoned: British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert is one of many UK (or part-UK) citizens languishing in an Iranian prison because Boris Johnson is too busy sunning himself to do anything about it.

Richard Ratcliffe wrote about this back in November, when we had a chance to bring in a government that would help UK citizens wrongly convicted in foreign lands.

He referred to the fact that, after his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was jailed on a false charge of spying, others have also been arrested, accused and imprisoned.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson, he wrote: “Other British Iranians have been arrested and sentenced, particularly in Spring 2018 and again this summer.

“The UK now has more prisoners held in Evin prison than any of its allies.”

Mr Johnson had worsened Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s situation when he made a false statement about her in Parliament, which the Iranian government had seized, intending to use it to double her five-year sentence.

The Iranian government has linked her plight with its demand for the payment of an arms debt said to be owed by the UK to Iran (from a government company called IMS).

As Mr Ratcliffe stated, the Iranian government has also arrested other British, or part-British, citizens.

Among these are Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, held in Evin prison since 2018 on a 10-year sentence for spying.

She has now begun a hunger strike, alongside French-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah.

It won’t do her any good. Nazanin went on hunger strike, along with her husband, last year. It attracted no interest – from either the Iranian government or the British.

We may hope that the Australian government has more concern for the welfare of its joint citizens than the British under Boris Johnson. He couldn’t care less.

And Nazanin?

She celebrated (if you can call it that) her birthday on December 26:

Neither Boris Johnson nor Dominic Raab have any interest in helping Nazanin, let alone Ms Moore-Gilbert.

Boris Johnson is working harder on his suntan, over in the billionaires’ playground island of Mustique.

The UK had a chance to elect a government that takes the welfare of its citizens more seriously – but we blew it.

Let us hope, for Ms Moore-Gilbert’s sake, that the Australian government takes its duties more seriously.

Source: Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert on hunger strike in Iranian jail | Australia news | The Guardian

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Hypocrites challenge Corbyn’s call for evidence in tanker controversy

Blaze: An oil tanker burns in the Gulf of Oman. But was Iran really responsible?

Isn’t it childish that, in this age of climate change and environmental catastrophe caused by fossil fuels, our leaders are squabbling over oil again?

The Conservative government has supported claims by the United States that attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman – on one of the world’s most important tanker routes – were caused by Iran.

Apparently the removal of a mine from one of the tankers by Iranian special forces was portrayed as proof of that country’s guilt by the US government under Donald Trump. He said he guessed one of the mines used to attack the ships did not explode “and it had Iran written all over it”.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, under prime ministerial wannabe Jeremy Hunt, said an investigation by the United Arab Emirates had concluded that the attacks had been caused by a “sophisticated state actor”, and Mr Hunt said he was satisfied that the actor in question was Iran.

Let’s pause for a moment and compare this behaviour with the Tory government’s response to United Nations claims that its policies had caused an increase in poverty here – DWP secretary Amber Rudd, and Theresa May, said it was impossible for such a conclusion to be formed after such a short period collecting evidence; less than two weeks. The report on the tankers has appeared in less than two days, it seems.

So we have an arguable double-standard in the Tory government’s stance.

But that hasn’t stopped ministers from attacking Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, simply for suggesting that a little conclusive evidence should be collected first:

Happily, the response from the public has been to challenge the Tories. Consider, for example, this reponse to Mr Hunt:

Let’s face it – a previous UK government tried to convince us that a war with Iraq was a good idea, based on evidence that was later disproved. That was in alliance with the United States, too.

It is the attack on Mr Corbyn that is most offensive, though:

https://twitter.com/AutisticOu/status/1139940423982616576

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1139805044210110464

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1139885137481650178

That is the fact of this matter.

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Remember Nazanin? After Tories forgot her, London’s Labour Mayor has called for her to be freed

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Fair play to Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Mayor of London, for bringing the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back to public attention.

Nazanin, as you should well recall, is a charity worker who was jailed in 2016 on trumped-up charges of trying to engineer a “soft” revolt against the Iranian regime, when in fact she had been celebrating that country’s New Year with family members who live there.

Boris Johnson, as UK Foreign Secretary, made matters infinitely worse for her when he stupidly suggested that the Iranian authorities’ claims were right and she had been training journalists.

He travelled to Iran to try to secure Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release but instead only succeeded in promising to hand over nearly half a billion pounds that the UK had been withholding from Iran’s rulers since the 1970s.

I seem to recall that he expected to receive Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe in return but that hasn’t happened. What a buffoon.

Today – December 26, 2018 – is her 40th birthday. Husband Richard Ratcliffe issued a joint statement with London Mayor Sadiq Khan to mark the date.

They said: “Nazanin has been wrongly detained in an Iranian prison for over two years. She has done nothing wrong, has broken no laws. The charges against her are completely false.

“She is innocent and should not be kept in prison, separated for so long from her family and her young daughter. While she’s imprisoned, Nazanin continues to suffer both physically and mentally.

“We, and indeed the whole country, know what a travesty of justice it is that Nazanin continues to be detained. Her case, and also those of other dual-nationality prisoners being wrongly held in Iran, have rightly attracted global interest and deep concern.

“London is home to a large Iranian community who make a valuable contribution to this great, diverse city. Together, we are united in calling on the Iranian authorities to release Nazanin immediately along with the others who are being wrongly detained, to allow them to return home and be reunited with their loved ones.”

The appeal –

– has attracted support on the social media:

The Iranian authorities will do whatever they want, of course.

They know they have a source of leverage against the UK government, and have already used it to their advantage.

The reminder that British political organisations have not forgotten her is welcome – even new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has raised the issue again with the Iranians.

But I think the UK will need a lot more leverage of its own before she is returned to her husband and family. Let us hope I am mistaken.

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Netanyahu echoes Hitler. Will his followers call ‘anti-Semitism!’ on those who point this out?

Benjamin Netanyahu: echoing Adolf Hitler.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lowered himself to baiting his critics – trying to lure them into apparent displays of anti-Semitism – by paraphrasing Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler in a comment on Twitter.

He stated, in a sabre-rattling speech aimed at Iran: “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.”

As you can see from the response by Evolve Politics, Hitler said something almost identical in 1923: “The whole of nature is a mighty struggle between strength and weakness, an eternal victory of the strong over the weak.”

It is true that one of the examples of anti-Semitism listed with the IHRA working definition is “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”.

For some, that would be enough. We know several right-wing Labour MPs who would scream “anti-Semitism” if anybody compared Netanyahu with Hitler.

However – and this is a biggie:

The working definition of anti-Semitism itself states that examples such as that listed above are “non-legally binding”, only “to guide IHRA in its work”, and are indications of what “might” be manifestations, “taking into account the overall context”.

So – as Martin Odoni clarifies in this Critique Archives article, “the notorious ‘examples’ in the IHRA definition… are not meant to be seen as cast-iron proof of anti-Semitic attitudes. They are merely meant to be seen as clues for ‘where to look’, as it were. Where these behaviours are seen, the person or people demonstrating them might be anti-Semitic in their intentions, and so it is advisable to investigate.”

So the IHRA accepts that drawing comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy and that of the Nazis may not be inherently anti-Semitic – and one occasion in which it most certainly would not is if the Israeli prime minister paraphrased the words of Hitler.

Furthermore, such behaviour encourages unfavourable analysis of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians – not direct comparisons with the Nazis’ persecution of European Jews, although it is clear that, as Hitler believed the Jews to be weak, Netanyahu applies the same description to Palestinians.

So, in context, there is nothing anti-Semitic about this tweet by Craig Murray, no matter how much the pro-Israeli-government lobby rages about it.

This one, by John Clarke, is a valid expression of opinion:

And duncanpoundcake doesn’t go far enough: Hitler had shouted this crap, long before the Nuremberg rallies:

Marcus Chown’s comment can’t be touched because not only is he absolutely right, but he actually places Netanyahu’s remarks in their correct context:

But it seems the pro-Israeli-government lobby has the mass media neatly muzzled. Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice says it loud and clear:

Where indeed?

And Jill Segger teaches the lesson that Mr Netanyahu and all the supporters of his genocidal regime seem to have forgotten:

We are told – constantly – that the Nazi persecution of the Jews is, indeed, hateful to the Jews.

But the leader of what he himself has described as the “nation-state of the Jewish people” has not only embraced the rhetoric that informed that persecution – he uses it to justify doing what is hateful to his own neighbours in Palestine.

And, to their eternal shame, our mainstream news media are spineless, supine and silent.

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No respite for Nazanin

What a shame.

This was nothing to do with efforts by the Conservative government to negotiate the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from the Iranian prison where she has been unjustly held for so long on false charges.

She had been released for three days to see her daughter, and it had been hoped that this release would be extended. This has not happened.

Just think – if Boris Johnson had been capable of doing his job properly, she could have been back in the UK before Christmas.

Now Mr Johnson is on the backbenches and one has to wonder whether he is even capable of acting responsibly as a constituency MP. Can anyone provide information on this?

And the title of Foreign Secretary has now fallen to Jeremy Hunt, who seems to prefer hobnobbing with murderous dictators, rather than helping UK citizens.

It seems Mr Johnson set the bar so low that Mr Hunt isn’t even trying.

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