British Council worker released from Iranian prison, back in UK | Human Rights News

Aras Amiri was arrested in March 2018 while visiting family in Tehran and sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage.

An Iranian employee of the British Council has been jailed for more than three years in Iran Sentenced to 10 years in prison The group said it had returned to the UK after being released on widely criticised espionage charges.

Aras Amiri has won an appeal to Iran’s Supreme Court, the British Council announced on Wednesday. She was arrested in March 2018 on a private trip to visit her family in Tehran that did not involve her work in a government-run cultural organization, as previously reported.

“We have consistently refuted the initial allegations against Arras,” the committee said in a statement statement“We are very proud of her work as an arts programme officer in our London office, where she supports a greater understanding and appreciation of Iranian culture in the UK.”

Iranian authorities banned cooperation with the British Council in 2019 due to tensions with Western powers, warning that such activity would lead to prosecution.

Iranian authorities did not immediately release her.

But Amiri’s lawyer Hojjat Kermani, from Tehran, confirmed her acquittal to The Associated Press, saying Iran’s Supreme Court had determined her earlier espionage conviction in the country’s revolutionary court was a “violation of Sharia,” or Sharia law. of. He did not elaborate.

Kemani said Amiri flew out of Tehran on Monday but was freed in recent months as she appealed the travel ban.

After months of holding Amiri behind bars, Iran in 2019 sentenced British Council staff to 10 years in prison on charges of spying for cultural activities in Iran.

Her arrest highlights the dangers faced by those with Western ties to Iran after former US President Donald Trump abandoned Iran’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers and imposed tough sanctions on the country.

As tensions between Tehran and the West have risen in recent years, some dual nationals have been put in Iranian prisons. Human rights groups have accused Iran of holding dual citizenship as a bargaining chip to gain money or influence in negotiations with the West, which Tehran denies.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a Anglo-Iranian worker for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been held in Iran for more than five years on espionage charges, which he denies.

After completing her sentence, Zaghari-Ratcliffe get out of jail Last year – only the authorities sentenced her another year in prison About the new promotional costs.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family has linked her jail time to a dispute over London’s long-standing $530 million debt to Tehran, which was never delivered to Sheikh Tank.

Another British-Iranian dual nationality, Anush Ashuri, was sentenced to 12 years in prison at the same time as Amiri and remains in custody.

A UN panel has slammed what Iran calls “an emerging model involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberties of dual nationals”.

Meanwhile, Western negotiators have warned that time is running out to revive the broken Iran nuclear deal.

After five months of hiatus in talks, Iran under recently elected hard line President Ibrahim Raisi came up with Maximize requirements It remains on the negotiating table even as it accelerates its nuclear program.

Iran has now enriched more than 60 percent of its uranium—just one step below weapons-grade levels—and has built more advanced centrifuges and more centrifuges than the deal allows. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.