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The New Arab & agencies

Boris Johnson to meet Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani on Sunday

Johnson is in Iran hoping to secure the release of jailed British mother [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 December, 2017

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The British diplomat will meet with President Hassan Rouhani to 'discuss bilateral and regional issues.'
The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is expected to meet with the Iranian President on Sunday, as part of his visit to Iran to lobby for jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The British diplomat will meet with President Hassan Rouhani to discuss bilateral and regional issues, according to a statement made by the British Foreign Office on Saturday.

There was no mention of whether Johnson would address the Zaghari-Ratcliffe case with the Iranian leader.

Johnson flew to Tehran on Saturday and spent the day in talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. The Foreign Office reported that Johnson spoke "frankly" with Zarif, despite their differences.

Johnson raised "concerns about the consular cases of British-Iranian dual nationals," alluding to Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has now spent over two jears in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Iranian government. Nazanin-Ratcliffe denies all charges.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case took on added political importance when the foreign secretary falsely stated that she was training journalists in the country. The Iranian government has since used these statements to justify her sentence, as well an additional trial later this month that may see her sentence extended by up to 16 years.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who has previously met with Johnson to dicuss his wife's release, 
says she has been used as a pawn in Iran's efforts to extract some £450 million ($600 million) related to a trade deal dating back to before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Ratcliffe had previously lobbied to join Foreign Secretary Johnson on his Iran visit.

Expectations are building in the UK for Johnson to make progress in his bid for Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release, with the hastag #BringNazaninHome4Xmas gathering momentum on Twitter.

Before arriving in Tehran, Boris Johnson was in Oman where he met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The Gulf state is known to be a key intermediator between the West and Iran.

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