After spending five years in an Iranian prison accused of spying, British Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to one more year in jail, this time for “spreading propaganda against the system.” British foreign secretary Dominic Raab condemned the new sentence, describing it as “totally inhumane and wholly unjustified decision … We continue to do all we can to support her.”
But that may not be wholly correct. The UK owes Iran £400 million for 1,500 Chieftain tanks ordered by the Shah of Iran before his overthrow in 1979. The money was paid but the tanks were never delivered. Despite an international arbitration court ruling in favour of Iran in 2008, London has not paid up. It claims it is exploring every legal avenue for “lawful discharge of the debt”, but despite all the exploring the money remains unpaid. Clearly, Ratcliffe is an expendable pawn in a larger game.