I have now received a response to my letter regarding the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. I have attached a copy of this at the bottom of this page.
17th November 2021:
I attended the debate in Westminster Hall yesterday regarding the appalling case of Nazanin Zagari-Ratcliffe which was for the first time in my experience so well attended that there were no seats available.
Having listened carefully to the debate I am persuaded that whilst the government have been making continual representations to the Iranian Government and that the government’s position not to pay ransom money is right, it is clear that our country owes a debt to Iran which was incurred in 1979. Therefore, paying the debt would not constitute paying ransom money. Moreover, as the debt was incurred in 1979 which was pre-the sanctions regime, to pay the debt would almost certainly not breach the sanctions. Therefore, I do believe the government should pay the debt.
I will now be writing to the Minister and I hope with the pressure of cross party action Nazanin can be released and returned to the UK to live with her brave family.