Urgent Question granted in the Lords about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Government will have to answer what action they are taking to secure her release and return to the UK.

Will be at 1515.
Question secured by Lord Foulkes.
Lord Foulkes: "Will the minister now confirm that there is no doubt whatsoever that the UK government owes the Iranian government £400m for tanks the Iranian govt paid for but were never supplied? Second that the PM when Foreign Sec said that that debt would be paid?"
"And that it is further acknowledged that when it is paid Nazanin will be rebased? So can the minister (Zac Goldsmith) use his undoubted influence with the Prime Minister to make it his top priority to resolve this issue, to get Nazanin released and returned home?"
"Because it's undoubtedly the PM's moral duty to do so."
Lord Goldsmith, answering for the govt: "The UK does not and never will accept our dual nationals being used as diplomatic leverage. Our priority is securing Nazanin's immediate release so she can be reunited with her family."
Goldsmith asked what the delay is on the £400m: "As we've said many times we are exploring actively the options to resolve this case but it is not helpful in any way at all to connect wider bilateral issues with those arbitrarily detained in Iran."
Lord Judge: "Do we owe money to Iran? If we do why isn't it being paid?"

Goldsmith: "The payment of is a long standing case of an historic debt to pre-Revolution Iran and we continue to explore our options to resolve this case."
Lord Lamont: "The government have not been clear- they've been very ambiguous in answering questions in this House about this issue. Will the Minister confirm or deny that it is actually fear of US sanctions that is preventing the money being paid?"
Goldsmith says that the premise of Lamont's question is not correct.
Goldsmith: "I just do not accept and the government cannot accept that we have a responsibility for the incarceration and appalling treatment of Nazanin. This is a decision made by the government of Iran- it's a decision which they can reverse."
Goldsmith: "Of course we can continue to do as much as we possibly can to secure her release. That's why this appalling issue has been escalated to the highest level."
Lord Pannick: "I'm very surprised at the minister's answers in relation to the £400m- does he accept that an international arbitration tribunal has ruled that this country owes £400m to the state of Iran? And does he accept that to pay that sum would be to pay our obligations?"
Goldsmith: "No-one disputes that there's an historic debt- one that is owed to pre-revolutioonary Iran. However here I am, answering a question about Nazanin. And yet the majority of questions relate to that money."
A very difficult question in the Lords for the government. Lords said repeatedly that they would keep returning to the issue.

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