UK minister in first Iran visit since US nuclear deal pullout

UK minister in first Iran visit since US nuclear deal pullout
Alistair Burt was also expected to address Tehran's detention of dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
2 min read
01 September, 2018
UK junior minister Alistair Burt met his Iranian counterpart in Tehran [Getty]
Junior minister Alistair Burt was in Iran on Saturday, the first visit by a UK minister since the US pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal.

He met his counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, in Tehran where they discussed the economy and trade in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision.

"The talks mainly covered economic cooperation and mechanisms of financial and monetary dealings between the two countries after the US withdrawal from the nuclear accord," a state television report said, reported by Reuters.

Britain is one of five world powers, including Germany, France, China and Russia, who want to keep the nuclear deal intact.

"As long as Iran meets its commitments under the deal, we remain committed to it as we believe it is the best way to ensure a safe, secure future for the region," Burt said in a statement ahead of his visit.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency this week confirmed Iran was complying with the terms of the 2015 deal.

Burt was also expected to discuss the cases of dual nationals detained in Iran, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was hospitalised this week for severe panic attacks. 

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation - the media organisation's philanthropic arm - was arrested at Tehran airport on 3 April 2016 and convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment - a charge she denies.

Britain has been seeking her release, although the case became highly politicised in December 2017 after former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson mistakenly claimed Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran.

Burt will also visit non-governmental organisations during his two-day visit.

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