Johnson in Iran to push for release of dual citizen

British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was accused of links to mass protests in 2009 and was sentenced her to five years in jail for sedition. (Courtesy YouTube)
Updated 09 December 2017
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Johnson in Iran to push for release of dual citizen

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrived in Tehran on Saturday where he was expected to push for the release of a woman with dual citizenship held on spying charges.
The visit, the first by a British foreign secretary since 2015, comes at a tense time for relations between the UK and Iran.
Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been held in the country since April 2016. Efforts to secure her release were complicated recently when Johnson incorrectly said she had been training journalists in the country. He subsequently apologized for the remark.
A statement released on Saturday by the Foreign Office did not refer to Zaghari-Ratcliffe by name but did highlight the intention of the foreign secretary to address unspecified “consular cases.”
“I will stress my grave concerns about our dual national consular cases and press for their release where there are humanitarian grounds to do so,” he said.
Johnson added: “I will also underline the UK’s continued support for the nuclear deal while making clear our concerns about some of Iran’s activity in the region.”
This last point was a reference to Iranian support of Houthi rebels in Yemen who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition.
Johnson is in Tehran as part of a three-nation tour of the region which started in Oman and also takes in the UAE.
Another matter likely to be discussed during the visit is what Iran claims is an unpaid £400 million bill that relates to an arms deal agreed before the country’s 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah.
Johnson said: “While our relationship with Iran has improved significantly since 2011, it is not straightforward and on many issues we will not agree.
“But I am clear that dialogue is the key to managing our differences and, where possible, making progress on issues that really matter, even under difficult conditions.”


Yemeni army kills 20 Houthi militants, injures several others in Dhale governate

Updated 18 February 2019
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Yemeni army kills 20 Houthi militants, injures several others in Dhale governate

  • Yemeni forces advanced towards Al-Mashhad market in Ab governate as the Arab coalition raided Houthi areas
  • The attacks targeted Houthi reinforcements on their way to Nahm front

DUBAI: The Yemeni army killed 20 Houthi militants, including a field commander, in clashes in the southern Dhale governate on Sunday, Saudi state-agency SPA reported.

Yemeni forces advanced towards Al-Mashhad market in Ab governate as the Arab coalition raided Houthi areas, killing several militants and injuring others east of Sanaa.

The attacks targeted Houthi reinforcements on their way to Nahm front, according to civilian reports on Yemeni Minister of Defense’s official website “September Net.”

Meanwhile, Yemeni tribesmen from Hajjah’s Qeshar district destroyed Houthi militia gathering areas in the Darb Al-Maru area.

Field sources revealed that the tribesmen belonged to the Bani Riban tribe, and that they continue to group with other tribes to destroy militia gathering spots across the region.