Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Britain ‘prepared to pay £450 million Iran debt to help free jailed mother’.
The 39-year-old mother-of-one was imprisoned by the Iranian government while on a family holiday in April 2016 for allegedly “plotting to topple the regime”.
Now it has been reported the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is hoping to improve relations with Iran by paying back a historical debt owed since the 1970s.
The former Shah of Iran paid the British government £650 million for 1,750 tanks but only 185 were delivered before his regime was brought down and the order cancelled.
The International Chamber of Commerce demanded Britain pay £450 million back in 2009 but a ruling on international sanctions against Iran prevented this from happening.
It is thought that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be being held by the Iranian government as “collateral” for the debt.
Her husband. Richard Ratcliffe, has met with Mr Johnson, asking that he find him safe passage to Iran and telling him the “softly softly” approach is not working.
He told The Sun: “It is important that the UK honours its international legal obligations, so that Iran can honour its legal obligations.”
Ahead of their meeting, Mr Johnson said he would “leave no stone unturned” in his efforts to secure Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.
Despite widespread speculation, the government continues to insist that the two issues are unrelated.
A spokeswoman told Mail Online: “This is a long standing case and relates to contracts signed over 40 years ago with the pre-revolution Iranian regime.
“Funding to settle the debt was paid to the high court by the Treasury in 2002. Iran’s Ministry of Defence remains subject to sanctions.
“It is wrong to link a completely separate debt issue with any other aspect of our bilateral relationship with Iran.”