Iran's ambassador to the UK recently boasted on Twitter that "The Iranian authorities have repeatedly given assurances that having dual citizenship per se is not considered a crime or violation of law, and no one is prosecuted [in the Islamic Republic] for that reason".
But, the latest development regarding the treatment of dual nationals contradicts the Iranian regime’s statements. As of today, at least 30 dual nationals are in Iran’s notorious prison, Evin. One prominent example that has attracted attention is the case of the British mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, and she is still confined behind bars in Iran.
Iran’s president pointed out that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being treated fairly. But, her treatment which has exceeded 1,000 days in prison as of January 2019, amounts to torture, her family has said while making an appeal for the United Nations to intervene in her case. Although the prison’s doctor has promised her medical treatment, the Iranian authorities are refusing to provide any medical assistance. The Labour MP for Hampstead, Tulip Siddiq, urged the British government to act because the treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe is “becoming a matter of life and death”.
The Iranian regime has regularly framed sudden deaths in its prisons, or through the interrogations, as “suicides”. One recent incident was the case of the Iranian-Canadian environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami. Without providing any valid evidence, Iran’s judiciary announced that the Iranian-Canadian environmentalist committed suicide in prison due to the evidence of spying against him.
The poor treatment of the British mother by the Iranian authorities has made her begin a hunger strike along with another female prisoner. They began their hunger strike on Monday and continued it for 72 hours. After it was completed, Zaghari-Radcliffe had lost 3 kilograms.
The efforts carried out by the British government, to help release Zaghari-Ratcliffe or provide some medical treatment to her, have been fruitless. Britain recently warned the Islamic Republic that it is digging its diplomatic grave by the way that it is treating the British citizen. The UK’s shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, made it clear that “When the Foreign Office says Iran is holding Nazanin for diplomatic advantage, Tehran needs to realize that in fact, the opposite is true. For her every day they continue her unjust detention, they are simply burying their own diplomatic grave.”
It may come as a surprise to many policy analysts, politicians and scholars that Iran is ignoring the ongoing requests and warnings by the British government to release the
But the important issue is that, in spite of the fact that the ruling clerics of Iran desperately need the UK and other European countries to help Tehran economically, the Islamic Republic can not relinquish the main principle of its revolutionary ideology for the sake of the nation’s economic interests.
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Another important issue to point out is linked to the role of the judiciary system and the president. Some policy analysts may argue that the Iranian president or his foreign minister Javad Zarif ought not to be blamed because it is the Judiciary system, or more importantly, the Ministry
In conclusion, the treatment of dual nationals is continuing to deteriorate in Iran. Due to the core pillars of the theocratic establishment, the Iranian regime can not help but pursue its revolutionary principles which include targeting dual citizens. The West can assist its imprisoned citizens by imposing economic and diplomatic pressures on the Iranian regime and those organizations or authorities who are engaged in such human rights abuses.