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MP suggests archbishop led delegation to ask for mercy for imprisoned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

by Press Association

Labour's Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) used an urgent question in the Commons to raise concerns over her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, including how the Australian government was able to secure the release of dual British-Australian citizen Jolie King.

Ms King, a dual British-Australian citizen, and her Australian boyfriend Mark Firkin were returned to Australia last week, some three months after being arrested.

The couple, who had been blogging and vlogging on their extended journey across Asia, were arrested on spying charges after flying a drone near a military base, Iranian officials confirmed.

MPs have now called for the UK Government to do "everything it possibly can" to secure Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release, with some even calling for a religious delegation led by the Archbishop of Canterbury to appeal to Iranian leaders.

Labour former minister Chris Bryant said the UK should appeal to the religious beliefs of those in power in Iran.

He asked whether the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York or the former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, could lead a religious delegation to Iran to "see whether there might be a way of them asking that the quality of mercy be not strained".

Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison said the idea has been discussed, but would be "a bit of a challenge" if any religious delegation went with "the Government's fingerprints all over them".

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said his "biggest sadness" after leaving the Government was not being able to bring Nazanin home.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard watched the proceedings in the Commons.

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