Iran’s Revolutionary Guards ‘psychologically torturing’ Zaghari-Ratcliffe by blocking clemency

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. (File/AFP)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards ‘psychologically torturing’ Zaghari-Ratcliffe by blocking clemency

  • “It is fair to say that what Nazanin has gone through amounts to psychological torture,” Richard Ratcliffe said
  • The uncertainty over her fate has left Zaghari-Ratcliffe “deflated” and “unsettled”

LONDON: British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being subjected to “psychological torture” by the Iranian regime as her hopes of being granted clemency were dashed yet again, her husband said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, spent last week having nightmares whilst she waited to discover her fate on Friday, Richard Ratcliffe said. “There’s no news today,” was all she was told.
“It is fair to say that what Nazanin has gone through amounts to psychological torture,” he told the Observer.
“The supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] has granted clemency to everyone who meets certain criteria. Nazanin meets the criteria,” Ratcliffe added.
However, there is a dispute between the judiciary, who are trying to uphold the law, and the Revolutionary Guard, the aid worker’s lawyers told Ratcliffe.
The uncertainty has left Zaghari-Ratcliffe “deflated”, “unsettled” and desperate to see her five-year-old daughter, Gabriella, in England, Ratcliffe said.
“The Revolutionary Guard have had no problem making a mockery of Iranian law,” he said. “But this is the first time we’ve had a situation where not only is the Iranian foreign ministry, behind closed doors, trying to solve this for diplomatic purposes, but also the judiciary are trying to solve this case.”
In mid-March, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was temporarily released from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for two weeks along with thousands of other prisoners in a bid to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus in Iran. The furlough was extended until May 27.
However, her hopes of being granted clemency were dashed for the second time in a week on Friday when she was informed that a decision had not been made.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has served nearly four of her five-year sentence.
She convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge her family, the foundation and its news subsidiary Reuters deny.
She was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit.


Pompeo says US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

Updated 1 min 16 sec ago

Pompeo says US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

  • The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition
  • If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration will press ahead with efforts to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran despite widespread opposition to such a move at the world body, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. The decision sets the stage for a potential crisis at the UN Security Council amid rising tensions in Middle East.
Pompeo said the US would call for a Security Council vote next week on a US-drafted resolution to extend the embargo that is due to expire in October. The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition.
“The Security Council’s mission is to maintain international peace and security,” Pompeo told reporters. “The council would make an absolute mockery of that mission if it were to allow the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons openly.”
If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism that would restore all UN sanctions on Iran. Snapback was envisioned in the 2015 nuclear deal in the event Iran was proven to be in violation of the accord, under which it received billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
“One way or another we will ensure that the arms embargo will be extended,” he said. “We’re not going to let the arms embargo expire on October 18. We’re deeply aware that snapback is an option that is available to the United States.”
Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and has steadily reimposed US penalties on Iran, leading Iran to step up uranium enrichment and heavy water production outside the allowed limits. Disputes over those violations remain unresolved.
The remaining participants in the 2015 nuclear deal have said the US no longer has standing to invoke snapback. Administration officials and Iran hawks argue that as a permanent member of the Security Council, the US remains party to the separate UN resolution that endorsed the deal and still has the legal grounds to call for the reimposition of sanctions.
Under the nuclear deal, the UN arms embargo against Iran will expire Oct. 18 if Iran is in compliance with the agreement. For several months, Pompeo and other US officials have been lobbying for the indefinite extension of the embargo, saying its expiration would allow Iran to import weapons at will and further destabilize the Middle East.
The European participants in the nuclear deal, Britain, France and Germany, have said they have concerns about Iran's ability to import and export weapons but have also pointed out that it was envisioned by the agreement. China and Russia have threatened to veto any attempt to extend the embargo.
But a snapback of UN sanctions would not be subject to veto, due to the unusual way the provision was worded. The other members of the Security Council could, however, simply choose to ignore a US invocation of snapback, which would create a crisis of credibility in the UN's most powerful body.