No prosperity without justice: the UK’s relationship with Iran Contents

3Human rights

38.Iran is identified by the FCDO as a human rights priority country for its judicial failings and lack of due process, gender inequality, and disregard for civil liberties such as freedom of expression and belief.78 Such restrictions are epitomised by its system of governance where Iran’s head of state, the Supreme Leader, wields significant political power, including over foreign policy, despite there being no practical mechanism by which to democratically remove or appoint him.79 The Iranian system of electing the president and representatives in the Majlis contains some democratic elements but ultimately requires candidates to be pre-approved by the Guardian Council, a body of Islamic jurists and theologians appointed by the Supreme Leader.80 Thousands of moderate candidates were barred from standing in the 2019 parliamentary elections as a result.81 Although the Majlis contains reserved positions for religious minorities,82 Iran overall has a poor track record on religious freedom. In his Independent Review of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians, the Bishop of Truro noted that Christian minorities, in particular converts, were regularly arrested, detained and imprisoned at the behest of the Iranian state.83 In written evidence, Amnesty International outlined the plight of other minority groups stating that

In 2018 the Gonabadi Dervish religious minority faced a particularly vicious crackdown after a peaceful protest they held in February of that year was violently quashed. Hundreds were arrested and more than 200 were sentenced to a total of 1,080 years in prison, 5,995 lashes as well as internal “exile”, travel bans, and bans on joining political and social groups. 95 people from the Baha’i religious minority were also arbitrarily detained. In March 2020, three Ahwazi Arab prisoners, […] were forcibly disappeared during a protest over prison condition.84

39.Elsewhere, Iran has exerted significant control over media consumption and internet usage which, as our predecessor Committee noted in its “Media freedom is under attack”: The FCO’s defence of an endangered liberty report, has played a significant role in silencing the free press.85 In its written evidence, the BBC World Service noted that BBC Persian staff regularly suffered harassment taking various forms:

[…] arrest; detention; questioning; threats that jobs or pensions will be lost; confiscation of passports; and the spread of fake and defamatory news stories designed to undermine the reputation of staff and their families.

In July 2017, the Iranian government started criminal investigations into the activities of journalists and other staff working for BBC Persian, alleging their work constituted a crime against Iran’s national security. In tandem, the Iranian authorities brought an injunction to freeze the assets of 152 named individuals preventing them from buying, selling or inheriting property in Iran.86

It further noted that death threats, defamatory stories and fake images have been used to intimidate and discredit women journalists in particular.87 A similar pattern of harassment was cited by the British Council as the reason for the cessation of its work in Iran in 2009,88 and Iran’s failure to safeguard the basic rights of the individual leaves it consistently in breach of its international human rights obligations.89

40.Speaking broadly on the FCDO’s strategy to improve human rights globally, the Foreign Secretary described a three pillared approach of “media freedom and protecting journalists, FoRB [Freedom of Religion or Belief] and Magnitsky [sanctions].”90 When we questioned him specifically on how effective the FCDO had been in pressing Iran to improve its human rights record, the Foreign Secretary replied:

As effective as any other country dealing with Iran. They are not going to do it just because we put out communiqués, although I think they are sensitive to the reputational risk […] It is important to keep up that pressure, along with the other things we do.91

The FCDO has challenged Iran’s behaviour across a range of international fora, as detailed in its written evidence to our predecessor Committee:

[…] At the Human Rights Council in March 2019, the UK again supported the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran. […] In our speech to the council, the UK highlighted executions of juvenile offenders, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, the deteriorating right to freedom of expression and a lack of media freedom. We called on Iran to drop the criminal investigations and judicial harassment of BBC Persian employees and their families. During the 2019 UN General Assembly the UK shone a spotlight on Iran’s human rights record and their detention of dual nationals. The UK hosted an event with legal experts and international partners to highlight evidence of where Iran is failing to uphold its international obligations.92

41.BBC Persian promotes the shared interests of free people around the world. The treatment of its staff and their families by Iran is abhorrent, and the Government is right to continue to call out these abuses in international fora.

42.Witnesses noted the difficulty in positively influencing Iran’s domestic human rights agenda. Behnam Ben Taleblu ascribed the UK’s poor relationship with Iran to the latter’s “series of anti-western and anti-status quo choices” and advocated tackling human rights alongside nuclear proliferation and regional security in a single comprehensive negotiation rather than a patchwork of piecemeal agreements.93 However, Dr Van Engeland commented that “any attempt at addressing the human rights record of Iran has usually led to more violations” and that linking uranium production with human rights improvements was unlikely to be successful.94 Dr Vakil agreed that dialogue was needed with Iran, but also noted that it would be highly unlikely to “diplomatically engage on domestic political issues”.95 Dr Van Engeland further noted that there might be a greater opportunity to engage directly with the Iranian people and said that

The UK is at a turning point and so is Iran. It is at time of such changes that a dialogue can happen. Educational and cultural opportunities would be key in that regard, as both countries mutually admire each other’s civilisations. Educated Iranians are very keen on learning English, watching movies and series from the UK, going to the theatre, reading and other, so they are quite aware of British culture.96

Dr Van Engeland further noted in her written evidence that

Opportunities could initially be created in the field of culture with language exchanges, art exhibition, UK student bursaries in Iran… as culture has proven to be a neutral domain for other European nations present in the country. Organising events, encouraging tourism, supporting exchanges will enable the first phase of the soft power. There are many areas in which the UK can invest financially or otherwise to sustain growth, always thinking about the creation of psychological ties.97

43.Other witnesses were keen to emphasise that a distinction should be drawn between the Iranian state and the Iranian people. In written evidence, the Anglo-Iranian Political Prisoners Association stressed the importance of the Government gaining “the trust of Iranians if it is ever to have relations with Iran in the future” by making clear that concern is “for the country of Iran and its people, not the dictators ruling them”.98 The Henry Jackson Society was of the same opinion and provided the following assessment:

In a testament to the UK’s international cultural influence, many Iranians hold Britain in high regard for a range of different reasons such as 1980s rock music, the Premier League, the reputation of Britain’s institutions of higher education and the reliability of the BBC. Alas, the views of the regime and the Iranian people are not one in the same.99

44.We asked the Foreign Secretary what the end goal of engagement with Iran is. He replied:

[…] my instincts and my presumption are in favour of engagement. What the long-term strategy ends in is getting the right balance—not just the UK, but working with our international partners—of carrots and sticks, and the regime in Iran taking the right choices based on the interests of its own people to address its behaviour, which is contrary to international law.100

45.Iran will choose to uphold those parts of international law which suit the tenets or strategic goals of the Islamic Republic while disregarding the remainder, often at the expense of the Iranian people. The FCDO has made commendable efforts to tackle Iran’s human rights abuses and raise the plight of victims of Iranian oppression through international fora. These efforts should be complemented through direct diplomacy with President Rouhani to encourage him to place human rights prominently on his domestic agenda. In particular, the freedom of BBC Persian staff to provide free quality journalism is of vital importance to Persian speakers throughout the region and should be prioritised.

46.The Iranian people are the victims of the poor choices made by the Iranian state, yet they are too often a secondary consideration. The UK’s strategy going forward should rebalance this oversight. For the UK-Iran relationship to be meaningful and mutually beneficial, the UK must invest in strengthening cultural ties, fostering exchanges, and building upon common values shared with the Iranian people.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

47.Numerous witnesses described the human rights violations perpetrated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), both against the Iranian people and as exporters of terrorism regionally and internationally.101 The IRGC was established in the early years of the Islamic Republic as a paramilitary force whose raison d’être was to safeguard the ideals of the 1979 Revolution.102 Since then, the IRGC has seen its influence expand to become a significant presence in the lives of the Iranian people, and across the region. Although smaller than the Iranian military, the IRGC boasts a significant paramilitary membership and volunteer base. It has control over strategic arms and geographic positions, including conducting patrols in the Strait of Hormuz. It is also the primary counter to domestic dissent and controls a significant stake in Iran’s domestic economy.103 Overseas, its Quds Force, led by Qasem Soleimani until his death in January 2020, is a significant exporter of arms and strategic military assistance to a patchwork of Shia militia groups and organisations across the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi Rebels in Yemen.104 By its name (al-Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem), the Quds force identifies itself as anti-Israeli.105 However, the death of Soleimani, was welcomed by many Sunni and Shia Muslims who had particularly suffered at the hands of Iran’s proxies to whom the Quds Force had channelled significant resources.106

48.The IRGC was proscribed in its entirety as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US in 2019.107 Witnesses were divided on whether the UK should take a similar course of action. Dr Tabrizi warned that proscription by the US had escalated tensions with Iran but had “not weakened the IRGC nor reduced its activities and influence in the region”.108 However, Kasra Aarabi, took the opposite view, stating:

The case for proscription is hard to ignore. It is almost impossible to see how a constructive dialogue between the West and Iran can take place at a time when the Iranian regime is pursuing militancy via the IRGC not just in the Middle East, but also on European soil - as seen with successive foiled Iran-linked terror plots in Europe since 2017. Proscribing the IRGC would not close the door to diplomacy with Tehran. Rather, it would send a strong and clear message to Ayatollah Khamenei that the regime’s militancy and terrorism which is pursued via the IRGC–including its support for UK designated terrorist groups like Hezbollah–will not be tolerated.109

49.The Terrorism Act 2000 allows the Home Secretary, by affirmative order, to proscribe an organisation which “commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes or encourages terrorism, or is otherwise concerned in terrorism.”110 Although no part of the IRGC has been proscribed under this Act, its members and activities have more broadly been the targets of UK and EU sanctions. Qasem Soleimani was designated under the terrorism and terrorist financing regime111 and, as the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa noted in correspondence to us, there are more than 200 sanctions in place through the EU targeting Iran’s ballistic missiles and nuclear activities, many of which cover the activities of the IRGC.112

50.We are satisfied that the actions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp meet the criteria for proscription in the Terrorism Act 2000 and see proscription as a logical extension of the existing restrictions placed on members of the IRGC by the EU’s sanctions regime. The IRGC’s philosophy and malign actions within Iran and across the region run counter to the interests of the UK and those of the Iranian people. We recommend that the Foreign Secretary works with the Home Secretary to assess the available information on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with a view to laying an order before Parliament to proscribe the IRGC in its entirety.

Consular disputes

51.Iran’s extra-judicial detention of nationals of the UK, US and other western countries has its origins with the birth of the Islamic Republic. The detention by protestors in 1979 of 66 American diplomats and civilians, 52 of whom were not released until 1981, 444 days later, has had a profound influence on Iranian relations with the West, particularly the United States.113 Subsequent detentions of individuals or small groups of western nationals have further soured relations and their cases have been fraught with difficulties. Detainees may not know the nature of the charges put to them and are often detained for several months without being sentenced.114 British residents with Iranian nationality are not automatically granted UK consular assistance,115 and Iran’s non-recognition of dual nationality has been cited as a limiting factor in other cases.116 Significantly, some cases may be linked with bilateral disputes, or seemingly part of tit-for-tat exchanges. While the FCDO terms these matters ‘consular cases’, this latter characterisation has led many commentators to employ the term ‘hostages’.

Support to families of detainees

52.We asked the Foreign Secretary what assistance is provided to the families of arbitrarily detained nationals and dual nationals in Iran. He stated that the FCDO

[lobbies] for release where we believe that they have been arbitrarily detained. We provide support to their families; they can contact us 24 hours a day. We raise health and welfare concerns with the Iranian Government, as we would any other, and we raise issues of mistreatment. We would do that whenever asked to, and of course we engage with the families without them formally coming to ask us. Of course, some individuals in Iran and elsewhere do not want the UK Government taking up their case on their behalf. We obviously want to respect their wishes as well.117

This proactive characterisation was not quite shared by Janet Daby MP, whose written evidence detailed the case of her constituent Anoosheh Ashoori, who has been detained in Iran since 2017, and which noted that his family was unaware of its eligibility for consular support until contacting the FCDO in June 2018, 10 months after Mr Ashoori’s detention.118 Janet Daby further noted inconsistency within the FCDO on the advice offered to families of detained British and dual nationals, particularly on whether to publicise cases.119 Tulip Siddiq MP similarly found the FCDO unaccommodating noting the difficulties the family of her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had faced when seeking meetings with Ministers and FCDO officials in the early period of her detention.120 Tulip Siddiq further noted that very little information was available to guide families of detained individuals through the process, or to outline what service they might expect from the FCDO, stating

The lack of established rights for British citizens being unlawfully detained abroad has been clear in this case, and has made it impossible to hold the FCO to account. An absence of any written rules means that the FCO does not need to meet any standards or requirements formally.121

53.Charlie Loudon, International Legal Adviser at REDRESS, told us that public guidance outlining how the FCDO will act on behalf of citizens detained abroad is unclear and inconsistent, making it difficult for families of detainees to know what to request or expect. This is particularly concerning given the distress caused by such situations.122 He further stated that

[…] the FCO should commit to publishing, in the annual Human Rights and Democracy report (and subject to data protection concerns), detailed information on action taken in individual cases to protect the human rights of all British nationals detained abroad.

[…] The FCO should also revise, re-evaluate and thoroughly update the current policy on consular assistance with the aim of achieving an accessible, clear, and well-publicised policy that puts the protection of all British (including dual) nationals from human rights violations abroad at the centre. It should publish the entire Internal Guidance Documents on consular assistance and develop clear criteria for its transparent exercise.123

54.In 2019, the FCDO commissioned a review into the department’s handling of complex consular cases. The review was conducted by Dame Judith MacGregor and focused on how the department balances the needs of the individual with the needs of the bilateral relationship, and on the process by which families are informed of actions taken while sensitive details are protected.124 The review makes several important recommendations, including the establishment of a task force approach to properly handle the most sensitive cases and determine the parameters of Ministerial involvement.125 Despite being completed in June 2019, the review was not made public until it was deposited in the House of Commons Library in November. In his covering letter, Nigel Adams, the Minister of State for Asia, endorsed the review’s key findings and recommendations and noted that implementation was in progress.126

55.The MacGregor Review offers the single best insight into the changes which need to be made within the FCDO to better equip it to deal with complex ‘consular cases’. We welcome the Government’s commitment to its recommendations but are concerned that this undertaking comes over a year since the review was finalised. We recommend that the FCDO continues to implement the recommendations of the MacGregor Review and provides the Committee with annual updates on its progress.

Strategy to secure release of detainees

56.In its written evidence, the FCDO made clear that the strategies employed to secure the release of detained nationals vary by case.127 The intricacies of the negotiations and representations conducted by the FCDO in the pursuit of justice for detainees are rightly withheld from public consumption, but the FCDO noted that it makes requests for consular access to detained nationals where it is not automatically provided, such as with dual nationals.128 Another tactic has been to accord the detainee diplomatic protection, although this has been dismissed by Iran when used for dual nationals.129130 Tulip Siddiq MP noted that despite the FCDO’s efforts to negotiate the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, no real progress was made until covid-19 enabled her to be released on furlough.131 The limited range of options available was highlighted in October 2019 by Dr Andrew Murrison, the then Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, who stated:

[…] it is a sad fact that the tools in our toolbox are limited. What we can do is continue to make it clear to our interlocutors that this is not acceptable, right or proper, and that if Iran wants to restore its reputation, the early release of Nazanin and other dual nationals will go a very long way.132

57.The FCDO’s current approach to consular disputes is clearly not working. The Key Performance Indicator remains the unconditional and timely release of detained nationals. In this, the range of tools on offer is entirely ineffectual and requires revision. The FCDO needs to acknowledge this and use it as a basis for working with allies to develop an effective strategy which will adequately safeguard British citizens.

‘Hostages’, not ‘consular cases’

58.The principal part of international law concerned with hostage taking is the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, which came into force in 1983. Article 1 of the convention defines the offence of hostage taking.133

Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the “hostage”) in order to compel a third party, namely a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or judicial person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking hostages (“hostage-taking”) within the means of this Convention.

59.The FCDO has rightly stated that the detention of British and dual nationals by Iran falls outside the parameters of the Convention which was clearly designed for the specific purpose of combatting individual hostage-takers, rather than state-backed actors.134 Nevertheless, witnesses understandably drew parallels between the motives of individual hostage-takers, as defined by the Convention, and those which have been expressed by members of the Iranian executive. Janet Daby MP argued that the case of Anoosheh Ashoori seemed commensurate with Iran’s strategy of “hostage diplomacy”135 and Tulip Siddiq MP additionally noted that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has repeatedly been told that her unlawful detention since 2016 is linked to the UK’s historic International Military Services (IMS) debt owed to Iran.136 Indeed, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband has referred to her as a hostage, as has her legal team.137 The FCDO has been conspicuous in its reluctance to refer to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a hostage, and a spokesperson for the then Prime Minister Theresa May stated in 2017 that the IMS debt was not being linked with efforts to secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.138

60.Witnesses involved with some of the higher-profile detentions of UK and dual nationals by Iran were keen to highlight the benefits which might be gained in defining the term. Charlie Loudon from REDRESS, which has acted on behalf of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe since 2016, commented on the issue of ‘State Hostage Taking’:

The US has been successful in securing releases despite having a particularly poor relationship with Iran. The US has a stronger legal framework, having recently enacted the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, which empowers the federal government to challenge hostage taking of its nationals. The US also has more targeted leadership structures to tackle this issue, including a Special Presidential Envoy on Hostage Affairs and a Hostage Fusion Cell for coordinating across government sectors. The UK does not currently have such structures. The US government has also been willing to use the term ‘hostage taking’. This is in contrast to the UK, which strictly refers to and treats state held hostages as regular ‘consular cases.’139

61.Charlie Loudon was measured in characterising other countries as more or less successful than the UK and noted that while that might appear to be an accurate assessment, “There is a lack of authoritative publicly available data on the different success rates”.140 Other witnesses were similarly sceptical that the US or Australia should be unequivocally characterised as ‘more successful’ than the UK. Dr Vakil noted that the US had been successful at negotiating the release of US nationals, but not dual nationals, and that Australia still had unresolved cases.141 Dr Van Engeland similarly emphasised that “there are still Australian, US and French citizens detained” but nonetheless described it as “striking” that the UK had recently seen several of its citizens and dual nationals detained.142

62.Regardless of international comparisons, Charlie Loudon noted that “[a]vailable evidence gives a clear indication that the UK’s method has not worked so far, and that the UK needs to rethink its approach and work with other countries to better address Iranian hostage taking”.143 The sentiment was shared by Dr Vakil who stated that the UK “should be more proactive and find opportunities to negotiate with Iran specifically delinking the issue of dual nationals from other security challenges”.144 As a specific remedy, Tulip Siddiq MP suggested that

These problems are all the more likely at a time when authoritarianism is on the rise around the world and international law is increasingly being challenged […] HMG should be using its role on the world stage to forcefully call-out state hostage-taking and push for international agreements to curtail it.145

63.The framework within which action over arbitrarily detained nationals can be taken is severely limited. The UK is not alone in not officially recognising the phenomenon of ‘State Hostage Taking’, but the FCDO should acknowledge that Iran’s transactional approach to diplomacy typifies a growing challenge democracies face when engaging with some autocracies. Calling ‘State Hostage Taking’ out for what it is and taking the lead in shaping a united international response would help yield additional tools to counter this behaviour. The FCDO should use the UK’s position at the UN to establish an ad hoc Committee to draft a complementary stand-alone addition to the 1979 Hostages Convention which defines ‘State Hostage Taking’ and prohibits its practice.

Human rights sanctions

64.Our predecessor Committee reported on the UK’s sanctions policy after Brexit and explored the possibility of using Magnitsky sanctions against human rights abusers.146 The Foreign Secretary announced the UK’s first round of Magnitsky-style sanctions in July 2020 against nationals of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and North Korea.147 Iran was notable by its absence, particularly as the international community is aware of many individuals within Iran known to have committed human rights abuses.148 Behnam Ben Taleblu told us that

Global Magnitsky sanctions can and should be used to punish those engaged in human rights violations or gross acts of government corruption. […] The exact scale and scope of the penalty can be highlighted when being issued, and should remain in place until the behavior–in this case the detention of UK nationals–ceases by the relevant authority.149

The assessment was shared by Charlie Loudon who noted that “Magnitsky sanctions are well-suited to supporting behavioural change”.150 However, Dr Van Engeland took the opposite view, noting that sanctions could increase scrutiny on human rights but would be resented by already heavily sanctioned Iranians who would not draw an obvious link between sanctions and detained British and dual nationals.151 The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, noted in correspondence to us in August that the FCDO would “continue to designate under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations” and stressed the importance of ensuring “that all designations are underlined by a robust evidence case, ensuring that legal tests and policy objectives are met” but would not be drawn further.152

65.Iran’s human rights record and selective commitment to upholding international law is a threat to the rules based international system generally, and a key challenge faced when aiding detained nationals specifically. The FCDO has admirably used international fora to exert pressure on Iran and to encourage a behaviour change, but a country which does not respect international norms will never be embarrassed into compliance. The time has come for a more robust approach. For its next round of Magnitsky-style sanctions, we recommend that the FCDO prioritises building watertight cases against human rights abusers based in Iran or acting for it abroad, including those involved in the arbitrary detention of UK and dual nationals.

80 Human Rights Watch, Mechanisms of Exclusion, accessed 9 January 2020

83 Independent Review of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians, Rt. Rev. Philip Mounstephen Bishop of Truro, 2019, page 24

84 Amnesty International (UKI0031) para 7

85 Foreign Affairs Committee, Twenty-First Report of Session 2017–19, “Media freedom is under attack”: The FCO’s defence of an endangered liberty, HC 1920, paras 25–28

86 BBC World Service (UKI0019), p 5

87 BBC World Service (UKI0019), p 5–6

90 Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 6 October 2020, HC (2019–21) 253, Q206

91 Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 6 October 2020, HC (2019–21) 253, Q236

92 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKI0005 [2019 Session]) para 33

93 Q1 [Behnam Ben Taleblu]

94 Q17 [Dr Anicée Van Engeland]

95 Q17 [Dr Sanam Vakil]

96 Q1 [Dr Anicée Van Engeland]

97 Dr Anicée Van Engeland (UKI0021), para 19

98 Anglo-Iranian Political Prisoners Association (UKI0016), p 7

99 James Rogers and Dr Simon Waldman of The Henry Jackson Society (UKI0007) p 8

100 Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 6 October 2020, HC (2019–21) 253, Q231; the importance of a goal to engagement, rather than engagement as a goal in itself was emphasised by Dr Tabrizi.

101 See for example: Kasra Aarabi (UKI0018); National Council of Resistance of Iran - UK Representative Office (UKI0011) p 5; Dr Jonathan Spyer (UKI0020) p 2; Tulip Siddiq MP (UKI0032) para 27.

102 Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Council on Foreign Relations, 6 May 2019

103 Profile: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, BBC News, 3 January 2020

104 A Look At Three Decades Of Iran’s Secretive Quds Force, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Morad Veisi, 8 January 2020

105 The Quds force of the Iranian revolutionary guard, Commons Library Briefing, 30 October 2007, p 2

106 Qassem Soleimani Haunted the Arab World, The Atlantic, Kim Ghattis, 3 January 2020

108 Q24 [Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi]

109 Q24 [Kasra Aarabi]

110 Terrorism Act 2000, Section 3

111 Consolidated list of financial sanctions targets in the UK, Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, accessed 7 October 2020

113 The 444-day Iran hostage crisis began 37 years ago, Annys Shin, The Washington Post, 10 November 2016

115 UIN 208798 [Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi], 15 January 2019

116 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKI0031), para 18

117 Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 6 October 2020, HC (2019–21) 253, Q232

118 Janet Daby MP (UKI0030), paras 3.1–3.2

119 Janet Daby MP (UKI0030), Conclusions and recommendations

120 Tulip Siddiq MP (UKI0032), para 59

121 Tulip Siddiq MP (UKI0032), para 58

122 Q22 [Charlie Loudon]

123 Q22 [Charlie Loudon]

125 Review of Complex Consular Cases, House of Commons Library

127 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKI0031), para 18

128 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKI0031), para 18

131 Tulip Siddiq MP (UKI0032), para 25

132 HC Deb, 7 October 2019, col 1570

133 International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, United Nations, accessed 8 September 2020

134 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKI0031), para 18

135 Janet Daby MP (UKI0030), para 5.1

136 Tulip Siddiq MP (UKI0032), paras 12–13

137 Q18 [Charlie Loudon]; Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘held hostage’ by Iran, says husband, The Guardian, Patrick Wintour, 9 September 2020

138 Britain denies £400 million debt to Iran linked to bid to free jailed aid worker, Reuters, Guy Faulconbridge, Paul Sandle, 16 November 2017

139 Q23 [Charlie Loudon]

140 Q23 [Charlie Loudon]

141 Q23 [Dr Sanam Vakil]

142 Q23 [Dr Anicée Van Engeland]

143 Q23 [Charlie Loudon]

144 Q23 [Dr Sanam Vakil]

145 Tulip Siddiq MP (UKI0032), para 65

146 Foreign Affairs Committee, Seventeenth Report of Session 2017–19, Fragmented and incoherent: the UK’s sanctions policy, HC 1703, paras 11–19

149 Q18 [Behnam Ben Taleblu]

150 Q18 [Charlie Loudon]

151 Q18 [Dr Anicée Van Engeland]

Published: 16 December 2020 Site information    Accessibility statement