News : Economy
- Published: Sunday, 02 September 2018
By INU Staff
INU - Last week, British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was re-incarcerated by the Iranian regime, just days before a €50million (£45million) support package was adopted for Iran by the European Commission, resulting in a furious response from UK Independence Party (UKip) MEPs.
A number of UKip MEPs have voiced their outrage over the announcement of the first €18million (£16million) installment of a €50million package for Iran, while Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being detained for being a spy - a crime she has always vehemently denied. When she was temporarily released from jail last week, it was believed that she would be spared from returning to jail. Those hopes were dashed when authorities failed do issue a reprieve. She must continue to serve her five-year prison sentence away from her husband and daughter.
Margot Parker, UK Independence Party MEP for the East Midlands, said, “I don’t know how they justify it. This is a regime that is quite brutal - it is brutal - and we see that with the most awful treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. This particular woman has been a pawn in the most vile and abusive way.” She added, “So, I’m sorry, but I don’t think the EU should be doing anything of the kind; I think they can spend EU taxpayers’ money in a better way.”
The EU is attempting to support Iran after the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump exited the deal, which agreed to the easing of sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation in return for curbing its nuclear energy program.
Also angry at the EU’s decision to give aid to the Middle Eastern country, UK Independence Party MEP Jonathan Bullock concurred with his colleague, “We shouldn't be considering giving Iran 50 pence never mind 50million Euros.” He added, “At a time when a British national is imprisoned unjustly in terrible circumstances, the EU sees it fit to offer a multimillion pound gift to the regime which is responsible.
This is a prime example of why the bureaucrats in Brussels shouldn't be making our decisions for us. They have woefully misjudged the situation and now we are no closer to getting Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back home to her family.”
On Friday, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt arrived in Iran for talks with Tehran regarding the incarceration of Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe, as well as the Iran nuclear deal.
Part of Mr Burt’s agenda will be to assess the state of the British-Iranian charity worker’s health after she suffered an intense panic attack. She was, in fact, rushed to a prison hospital following her re-imprisonment.
Questions have been raised about the aid, according to Conservative MEP Syed Kamall, who said, “The treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is sadly part of a pattern of abuse, violence and persecution.” He added that Iran’s “human rights record has deteriorated markedly with appalling treatment of Iranians who take part in protests and demonstrations.
I know there will be many of my colleagues in the European Parliament who will question why the EU is even considering sending such a grant.” Kamall concluded, “We have no quarrel with the Iranian people. Therefore the continuing engagement with the Iran regime is necessary to address a broad range of issues, from the preservation of the nuclear deal to the detention of British dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.”
Formerly a member of the UK Independence Party, Independent MEP Jonathan Arnott stated, “We shouldn’t be sending foreign aid to oppressive regimes and it is even worse when it is coming from a European Commission which is highly unaccountable to the British people.”