Iranians seize two more British women: Ex-Cambridge academic and blogger trekking with her boyfriend are thrown in the same hellhole Tehran jail currently housing Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
- The women are incarcerated in the same prison as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41
- One works as lecturer in Australia and the other is blogger who is travelling Asia
- They were taken to Evin jail, in Tehran, after being arrested in separate incidents
Iranian authorities have arrested two female British dual nationals along with one of the women’s Australian boyfriend and moved them into a notorious jail in Tehran, according to reports.
The women have been incarcerated in the same jail where Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, a British-Iranian mother, has been held since 2016 over accusations of spying.
One works as a university lecturer in Australia and previously studied at Cambridge University.
The other is a blogger who was travelling in Asia with her Australian boyfriend.
The women have been incarcerated in the Evin prison in Tehran, pictured, where Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, a British-Iranian mother, has been held since 2016 over accusations of spying
They were reportedly taken to Evin jail, in the capital Tehran, after being arrested in separate incidents, as reported by The Times.
The women are thought to be the first British passport holders without Iranian nationality to have been jailed in the country for several years.
The arrests come amid heightened tensions between Iran and Britain. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, summoned Tehran’s ambassador to London for talks yesterday over an Iranian oil tanker seized in Gibraltar.
Mr Raab said EU sanctions have been breached by the transfer of the oil to Syria.
The blogger has been detained in a ward for female political prisoners where Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is currently held.
The blogger has been detained in a ward for female political prisoners where Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured), is currently held
She and her boyfriend were arrested about ten weeks ago as they travelled in Iran during a trip they had been blogging on social media.
They started their journey in Australia about three years ago and followers of their accounts have posted concerns about their recent silence.
A source told newspaper that Iranian authorities told the woman she was being held in a bid to orchestrate a prisoner swap with Australia.
The same source said the lecturer is in solitary confinement after she was sentenced to ten years in prison for an unknown offence. The sentence is common for foreign nationals charged with espionage.
Tulip Siddiq, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Labour MP, told The Times: ‘This terrible news shows a clear escalation of Iran’s hostage diplomacy.
Mr Ratcliffe, pictured outside the Iranian embassy in London in June, said Iran must be made to understand that ‘hostage diplomacy is not OK’
‘Soft diplomatic responses to Iran’s illegal and inhumane treatment of British prisoners have been a failure.’
Richard Ratcliffe, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, told the paper: ‘I complained to the foreign secretary last week that we’d been seeing an escalation from Iran in recent months, even since our hunger strike, publicly taking Nazanin to hospital in chains and restricting her visits and calls, new big sentences announced for other innocent people, and more British citizens being taken, even non-Iranian.’
He said Iran must be made to understand ‘hostage diplomacy is not OK’ and the UK Government ‘cannot keep sitting quietly by while ordinary people are being taken as bargaining chips’.
The Foreign Office declined to comment.