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Zarif discusses exchanging detained tanker with jailed dual national

Javad Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he has received no proposal to exchange a British-Iranian prisoner in Tehran, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with Iran's detained oil tanker in Gibraltar.

Zarif called the seizure of the oil tanker an act of piracy, while adding that he has received no offer from the UK government to release the oil tanker Grace 1 against freeing Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been in jail since 2016 for no particular reason.

Zarif's comment could be his own way of signalling to Britain that Iran would be open to such an exchange. On several occasions in the past Iran has exchanged foreigners it was holding on trumped up charges for recovering money or financial assets.

In recent days, there have been rumors on Persian social media about such an exchange involving Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Grace 1 was detained in Gibraltar on July 4 for violating EU sanctions against Syria, while reportedly carrying Iranian oil to a refinery under the control of Bashar al-Assad.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained in Iran at the end of a visit to see her family in April 2016. The Iranian judiciary has accused her of espionage but has not presented evidence for the charge.

Recently, Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband staged a sit-in near the Iranian Embassy in London while the couple were on hunger strike for two weeks in protest to her unfair detention.

Last Modified: Friday، 12 July 2019 11:05 PM