TEHRAN – An Iranian-British woman long held in Tehran has been sentenced to another year in prison, her lawyer said Monday, drawing immediate criticism from Britain in the high profile case that has prompted international condemnation of Iran.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has already served a five-year prison sentence in the Islamic Republic. Her new sentence comes amid ongoing negotiations in Vienna over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and as Tehran seeks hundreds of millions of dollars from Britain from a decades-old arms deal.
Her lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told The Associated Press that she received the second sentence on a charge of spreading “propaganda against the system” for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.
State media in Iran did not immediately acknowledge the sentence, apparently issued after yet another closed-door hearing in her case. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told the AP that her lawyer planned to file an appeal.
“I’m not sure I have much faith in the Iranian judicial system after five years of this, but if it keeps her out of prison until it is decided, then it is a good thing," he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson immediately condemned the new sentence.
“I don’t think it is right at all that Nazanin should be sentenced to any more time in jail,” he said. “I think it is wrong that she is there in the first place and we will be working very hard to secure her release from Iran, her ability to return to her family here in the U.K., just as we work for all our dual national cases in Iran."
Johnson added: "The government will not stop, we will redouble our efforts, and we are working with our American friends on this issue as well.” Johnson and his office declined to elaborate on that comment.