Tehran, Iran, December 11
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will push for the freedom of Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari jailed in Iran, according to the ministry’s spokesman Bahram Qassemi.
Qassemi who was addressing a press conference, said that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will discuss the issue with the Judiciary, noting however that Zaghari's freedom will be a decision to be made by the Judiciary, Trend correspondent reported from the press conference December 11.
Iran has jailed Zaghari on charges of espionage. She was arrested in March of 2016.
Answering Trend's question, Qassemi also confirmed that during a recent visit by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to Tehran, the Iranian side had discussed the payment of a sum of money which British news outlets have called ransom for Zaghari’s freedom.
Tehran and London, however, have rejected the idea of a ransom, saying the sum of money is an outstanding debt the UK owes to Iran over an uncompleted arms deal decades ago.
Insider reports have revealed that while the sum owed by the UK is around 400 million pounds, Tehran is demanding the interest as well, which would amount to about 2 billion pounds.
Qassemi confirmed that talks had been held over the money, but refrained from giving an exact amount. He said Iran welcomes open and friendly ties with the UK, but would not tolerate interference in its internal affairs.
Zaghari hailed the “light at the end of the tunnel” on Sunday when a fresh trial was postponed after Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
She had been scheduled to face additional charges of spreading anti-government propaganda in court on Sunday. But a senior court official told Iran’s Fars news agency that no hearing would be held.
Following the news, Zaghari released a statement of her own, saying: “The court, the imprisonment emerged all of a sudden out of the blue, so I hope it can disappear out of the blue also – if there is enough will.”
“This time, again it feels close, but I am not planning it, not setting a date for myself,” she added.