Charity worker reportedly charged with working to overthrow Iranian government

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (© Free Nazanin Campaign)
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (© Free Nazanin Campaign)

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has said it has "no dealings with Iran whatsoever" after one of its employees was reportedly charged with working with "foreign companies and networks" to overthrow the Iranian government.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is a project coordinator in charge of grants applications and training at the charity, was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on 3 April when she was returning to the UK from a family visit in Iran, according to a petition posted by her husband Richard calling for her release.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has dual British and Iranian citizenship, was with her daughter Gabriella, who is 22 months old. Gabriella has had her British passport confiscated and is staying in Iran with her grandparents, according to the petition, which has more than 765,000 signatures.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation said it had seen reports from the Iranian Mizan news agency that said Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been charged with "being involved with foreign companies and networks in planning the overthrow of the Islamic regime in Iran through projects involving media and cyber networks".

Monique Villa, the chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: "Nazanin has been working at the Thomson Reuters Foundation for the past four years as a project coordinator in charge of grant applications and training, and had no dealing with Iran in her professional capacity. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has no dealings with Iran whatsoever, and does not operate and does not plan to operate in the country.

"Nazanin had travelled to Iran in a personal capacity. She was on a family holiday with her two-year-old daughter Gabriella. We remain in close contact with Nazanin’s family and her husband Richard, as well as with the British Foreign Office. We are assessing the situation as it evolves and hope the matter will be resolved as soon as possible."

A spokeswoman for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: "We are urgently seeking information from the Iranian authorities on the reported accusations being made against Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe. We have raised this case repeatedly and at the highest levels and will continue to do so at every available opportunity.

"We have also been supporting Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family since we were first made aware of her arrest. The minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, has met the family to reassure them that we will continue to do all we can on this case."

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