Foreign secretary says small event could spark catastrophe in region as he pushes Yemen peace plan
The Middle East is a tinderbox where one small event could lead to a catastrophe on the scale of the first world war, Jeremy Hunt has warned, as he pushed for the release of the Iranian-British dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on his first visit to Iran as foreign secretary.
Hunt’s visit to Tehran, the first by a foreign minister since the US reimposed sanctions on oil exports earlier this month, included talks to persuade Iran to back a UK-sponsored peace settlement in Yemen and not to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with the west over Europe’s apparent inability to circumvent the US sanctions.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a 38-year-old Iranian-British dual national who has been jailed in Iran since April 2016. She has been accused of attempting to orchestrate a “soft overthrow” of the Islamic Republic. She and her three-year-old daughter, Gabriella, were about to return to the UK from Iran after a family visit when she was arrested. Since then, she has spent most of her time in Evin prison in Tehran, separated from her daughter.