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Britain's May To Press Rohani To Release Woman Imprisoned In Tehran


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her daughter Gabriella during a brief release from prison on August 23

British Prime Minister Theresa May will press for the release of a British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Tehran at a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in New York on September 25, a senior government official said.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the philanthropic Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016.

She is serving a five-year jail sentence for allegedly plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment -- a charge which she denies. Zaghari-Ratcliffe claims that she visited Iran to spend time with her family.

"You can expect the prime minister to raise our ongoing consular cases, including that of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe" during a meeting with Rohani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the official told reporters on September 24.

"The prime minister will express serious concern about Nazanin's ongoing detention and call for her to be released upon humanitarian grounds."

The British government earlier this month advised British-Iranian dual nationals against all but essential travel to Iran and warned it has only limited powers to support them if they are detained.

The official said that May in a one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on September 26 will discuss the poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter earlier this year in the English city of Salisbury -- an incident which London and Washington have blamed on Moscow.

Russia has denied the accusation.

The meeting with Trump will also focus on May's hopes of negotiating a bilateral trade deal with the United States after Britain leaves the European Union, the official said.

"They both have a strong commitment to securing a strong U.K.-U.S. free-trade agreement when we've left," the official said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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