As world leaders gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, the British mission to New York seeks to hold a session regarding British-Iranians held in Iran over espionage for the UK.
The British mission will host the event on Thursday, September 26, over the situation of human rights in Iran.
The Iran Front Page has learnt that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Iran, Javaid Rehman, has also been invited to the event.
The session, with the pretext of addressing the situation of human rights in Iran, will have a major focus on the issue of releasing British-Iranian dual nationals detained in the country, in particular Nazanin Zaghari.
Zaghari was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport in April 2016 as she was on her way back to London. She was subsequently put on trial and handed a five-year jail term after being found guilty of spying for the United Kingdom government.
British media had claimed that she worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and was on vacation in Iran when she was arrested. However, Boris Johnson said in a statement to a parliamentary committee in 2017 – when he was a foreign secretary – that Zaghari had been “simply teaching people journalism.”
Johnson’s remarks amounted to an accidental confession that Zaghari was plotting against the Iranian government, but British authorities described them as a gaffe.
As the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly is underway in New York, the British government seems to be pressuring Iran on releasing the Iranians or British-Iranians who have been convicted of espionage for London.
While holding a session on human rights in Iran, the UK government has so far been criticized for serious breaches of human rights at home and abroad. ‘CIA Torture Unredacted’ report, released in 2019, revealed the British complicity in a secret torture program in “black sites” (secret prison) established by CIA between 2001 and 2009.
The British arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the killing of thousands of innocent civilians in Yemen have been questioned by human rights activists in the West, blaming the UK for violating the humanitarian law.
“Instead of making futile attempts against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the UK government should stop selling lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia – which is demanded by many people in the world – and rid itself of the charge of committing war crime against the people of Yemen,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi today in reaction to UK Prime Minister Johnson’s claim that Iran might be to blame for the recent attacks on Saudi oil refineries.
On the issue of detaining British-Iranians for espionage, an Iranian source, on the condition of anonymity, said that the UK sends spies to Iran without considering the consequences. He said “if the UK is worried about those arrested in Iran for espionage, they had better stop dispatching spies to Iran.”
“How come many other European citizens travel to Iran and nothing happens to them? That’s because the UK government is using humanitarian cover for its security measures and is victimizing people for meeting its own political interests, while ignoring the repercussions for those involved in espionage,” the source added.