UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab calls for prisoner release in talks with Iran

Cabinet minister in telephone talks with Javad Zarif to discuss future of nuclear deal in the wake of Donald Trump's US election defeat

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif to release jailed British dual nationals in their first conversation since the US elections.

Britons including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an aid worker, and Anoosheh Ashoori, a retired engineer, are being held in Iran on what their supporters say are trumped-up charges.

Relatives have spoken of their hopes that a potential thaw in relations between the US and Iran under President-elect, Joe Biden, could improve their chances of release.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is currently staying at the home of her parents in Iran after being released from Tehran’s Evin jail on an electronic tag during the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the country.

The Foreign Office said that Mr Raab spoke to Mr Zarif on Monday and “urged that dual British nationals detained in Iran be immediately and permanently released”.

Iranian media said the two foreign ministers also spoke of co-operation between the two countries over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, championed by Barack Obama, and embarked on a campaign of maximum pressure on the Iranian regime.