Tulip Siddiq MP calls for review into West Hampstead mum's detention

Tulip Siddiq MP

Tulip Siddiq MP - Credit: PA

Tulip Siddiq MP has asked for a full review of a West Hampstead mum's six-year detention in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned from detention in Iran on March 17 after the UK finally agreed to settle a £400 million debt dating back to the 1970s.

Speaking at a press conference at Portcullis House on Monday, Nazanin criticised the government for the time it took to secure her freedom.

Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, who also spoke at Monday’s conference, called on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee (FASC) to investigate.

She said she owed it to Nazanin to ask questions about why the debt was not paid for “so long”.

“So, I’ve written to Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, to ask for a review into what happened in Nazanin’s case,” she said.

Ms Siddiq has asked the committee to look at two issues.

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One of them relates to a 2013 incident which happened when three Iranian officials came to the UK to negotiate the debt’s repayment

“They were arrested at Heathrow Airport and then detained in a UK detention centre. I spoke to (ex-foreign secretary) Jack Straw yesterday who said he never got to the bottom of why that happened,” she said.

“The second thing I’ll be asking the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to look at, if they accept the inquiry, is to look at why there was a deal made last year which then fell through and the money wasn’t paid either.

“And I want to know why the deal fell through, why it took so long to pay the debt, and I also want to look at the wider issue of taking hostages, which Iran has done.”

A source at FASC told the Ham&High that it has been "agreed in principle to do some work on hostage taking".

Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe was asked if he would consider a judicial review into the case, and said: “No, probably is the short answer.

“Obviously at points we’ve been angry. And you know, the Foreign Office will know that. We said it fairly bluntly."

He said it would be" really valuable for parliament to take up" Ms Siddiq's challenge and to talk it through.

"I think that’s best done through parliament rather than sort of angry lawyers, and everyone having to sort of cover themselves.”