Officials in Iran have announced that formal charges have been lodged against three dual nations currently held in prison. All three are set to go on trial, although authorities have not provided dates for the hearings.
Ahead of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe marking 100 days in prison on July 12, Tehran’s prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi announced that the Iranian-British charity worker had been charged, but did not specify or confirm the charges. Prior to the recent announcement, she had been accused of belonging to a foreign-based hostile network.
Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, who was arrested in October 2015, and Iranian-Canadian academic Homa Hoodfar, arrested in June, have also been charged. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are believed to have ordered the arrests.
The family of Zaghari-Ratcliffe issued a statement saying the Revolutionary Guards had been in contact with them on June 21 and had appealed to Richard Ratcliffe, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, to put pressure on the UK government to “reach an arrangement with them.” The Guards did not specify what the arrangement was, but said that the UK government would be aware of the issues to which they referred. Radcliffe passed this information on to the UK Foreign Office on June 22.
Richard Ratcliffe, his mother Barbara Radcliffe and Tulip Siddiq MP will present a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday, 12 July “asking him to intervene personally on their case” in his final weeks in office.
Following the announcement of the trials on Tasnim news site, Zaghari-Ratcliffe's employer, Thomsons Reuters Foundation, issued a statement saying Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe "had no dealing with Iran in her professional capacity" and that they could not see how she could be accused of "sowing unrest." The foundation also called for her immediate release.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested as she tried to leave Iran with her daughter, two-year-old Gabriella. Gabriella has been in the care of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family since the April arrest.
The Iranian judiciary’s website said charges had also been handed down to Professor Homa Hoodfar and businessman Siamak Namazi. Hoodfar, who travelled to Iran for personal reasons but regularly conducts research on Islam and gender, was arrested in June after being interrogated for several months.
Two US Congressmen, Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), introduced a bipartisan resolution on July 6, calling on Iran to immediately release Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, who was arrested after he travelled to Iran with the intention of visiting his son.