FCO Spokesperson: Detention of Iranian diplomat is legal case, not political issue

Politics Materials 30 July 2011 09:00 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 29 /Trend T.Konyayeva/

The UK has repeatedly said to the Iranian authorities that the arrest and extradition of the former Iranian ambassador to Jordan Nosratolla Tajik is purely legal in nature, a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Spokesperson said.

"We have made it clear to the Iranian authorities on several occasions that this was a legal, not a political, process, in which the British government has played no role," the FCO Spokesperson added.

On Wednesday, July 27, Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Iranian Expatriates' Affairs Hassan Qashqavi said the United Kingdom should release immediately Iran's former ambassador to Jordan, Nosratollah Tajik, who is currently being held in the UK.

Qashqavi also noted that Americans cannot extradite someone from Britain under UK's human rights laws.

The senior Iranian official added that a number of British doctors and psychiatrists have sent medical reports on Tajik's critical health condition to Britain's Home Office.

The Iranian official went on to say that Tajik's mental health was also in danger as he had been under house arrest in Britain for nearly five years.

According to the spokesperson, the Home Secretary is considering whether Tajik's medical condition is so serious that extradition would breach his human rights.

"Tajik is on bail following an extradition request from the US where he is charged with exporting defence articles (night vision equipment) from the U.S. to Iran without a licence," he noted.

Former Iranian ambassador to Jordan Nosratolla Tajik was arrested in Durham in northeast England, where he taught at the Institute of Islamic Studies. British intelligence officers claim that they have the video recording, which shows Tajik discussing supplies of night vision equipment worth £1.5 million to Iran.

The former Iranian diplomat is alleged to have been the UK link in an illegal arms network spanning the U.S., the Netherlands, and Turkey.

Washington is pressuring British officials for Tajik's extradition to the U.S., where he will face trial.

Westminster Magistrates' Court in London granted the U.S. request for the extradition of the former Iranian diplomat from Britain.

According to Iran's FM Ali Akbar Salehi, lifting the bans on Tajik can be a positive sign from the British government in terms of reconsidering diplomatic relations with Iran