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British-Iranians warned against travelling to Iran in personal intervention by Jeremy Hunt

5:51 pm, 19th September 2018

A spokesperson said Britain’s ability to provide support to detained dual nationals in Iran was “extremely limited” as the country does not recognise their status.

“British citizens who also hold Iranian nationality face risks if they travel to Iran, as we have seen all too sadly in a number of cases,” they added.

It comes as the British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is detained in Tehran.

She was arrested in April 2016 for “plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime” and convicted last year.

The 39-year-old from Hampstead, north London, denies the charges, and human rights groups have called for her release.

Sky News understands the travel advice announcement came in a personal intervention by Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary.

Mr Hunt is said to feel responsible for British-Iranian dual nationals in Iran and decided a tougher approach is required.

He has been considering the move since he started the job in July, and believed that the previous advice was not right and the UK needed to be honest.

It is the first time the Foreign Office has given travel advice specifically to dual nationals.

Mr Hunt has been praised by Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff’s husband, Richard, for taking a more “strident tone” in working for her release.

Mr Ratcliff told Sky News last week: “I wanted him to make her a priority – it feels like he has. He’s issued statements saying he thought she was innocent. He’s been as strong as we could have wanted.

“It feels like she’s got a big brother in the playground.”

Last month the foreign secretary lamented the “shocking and desperate situation”, promising to “do everything we can to bring her home”.

He was also gifted a painted stone by Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff’s family as a reminder of the promise to leave “no stone unturned” in the quest to free her.