UK Foreign Office advises British-Iranians against travel to Islamic Republic

# 21:43
17 May 2019

The UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice on Iran on Friday, warning British-Iranian dual nationals and Iranians working for organizations that are associated with the UK government against visiting the Islamic republic over an "intolerable" risk of arbitrary detention and mistreatment, ONA reports citing Sputniknews.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office now advises against all travel to Iran by British-Iranian dual nationals. Travel advice has been changed in response to the Iranian government's continued arbitrary detention and mistreatment of dual nationals, and Iranian citizens with links to institutions based in the UK," the travel advice said.

The Foreign Office stressed that the Iranian security forces "may be suspicious of people with British connections, including those with links to institutions based in the UK, or which receive public funds from, or have perceived links to, the British government." 

Dual nationals face an intolerable risk of mistreatment if they visit Iran… The dangers they face include arbitrary detention and lack of access to basic legal rights, as we have seen in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been separated from her family since 2016," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, as quoted in his office's statement.   

Iran does not recognise dual nationality, which "extremely" limits the UK's capacity to provide consular support to a dual national in case of their detention, according to the statement.    

The decision comes after on Monday, Iran's Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmayeeli said that the country had sentenced its female national to 10 years in prison after she confessed to spying for the United Kingdom. The woman in question is believed to be London-based British Council employee and art student Aras Amiri, who was detained in the Islamic Republic in March 2018. In 2016, Iran also sentenced British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to five years in prison for spying, which she denies.