British Council welcomes reports of staff member being acquitted in Iran

Aras Amiri was found not guilty after Iranian court initially jailed her for 10 years

Iranian Aras Amiri. Family photo
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The British Council on Monday said it welcomed reports that Iran's Supreme Court had acquitted its staff member Aras Amiri, two years after Tehran jailed her for 10 years.

The UK government has condemned the detention of Iranians with dual-UK nationality, or those based in Britain, as hostage-taking aimed at pressuring the West.

"We are aware of and welcome the reports that Aras Amiri Larijani has been acquitted by the Supreme Court in Iran," the British Council, which promotes UK cultural and language relations overseas, told AFP:

"We cannot comment further on the legal aspects of her case."

The chairman of the UK Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat, on Monday retweeted a post quoting the Iranian arm of the US-funded Radio Liberty saying Ms Amiri was acquitted.

Tehran has not confirmed her acquittal.

Ms Amiri, a British resident, was detained in May 2018 while on a trip to visit relatives in Iran.

In May 2019, she was jailed for 10 years on charges of "cultural infiltration", a sentence that then-prime minister Theresa May called "utterly shocking".

Amnesty International said last year that she had been temporarily released on "furlough" before being ordered back.

The British Council has not had staff or offices in Iran since 2009. The Iranian government in 2019 announced a ban on all collaboration with the organisation.

Updated: August 16, 2021, 9:25 PM