Iran accuses British-Iranian woman of bid to \'overthrow regime\'
TEHRAN - A British-Iranian woman who was arrested in Iran in April was accused on Wednesday of seeking to "overthrow the regime", according to a statement from the powerful Revolutionary Guards.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was accused of being "involved in the soft overthrow of the Islamic republic through... her membership in foreign companies and institutions," the Mizan news agency quoted a regional Guards branch as saying.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3 as she prepared to return to Britain with her daughter after visiting family in Iran, her husband said last week.
Iran doesn't recognise dual-citizenship and, if put on trial, she will be considered an Iranian.
According to the Guards, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "identified and arrested after massive intelligence operations" as one of "the heads of foreign-linked hostile networks."
She was alleged to have conducted "various missions... leading her criminal activities under the direction of media and intelligence services of foreign governments."
"Further investigations are being done and her case has been sent to Tehran for legal proceedings," the statement added.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held in a furnished room in a prison in the southeastern city of Kerman, 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from Tehran, it added.
Her husband said she was held in solitary confinement for 45 days.
Britain's Foreign Office has said it has raised the case "repeatedly and at the highest levels" and will continue to do so at "every available opportunity".
Contacted by AFP, Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband dismissed the allegations against her.
"It's complete nonsense. It's taken them 70 days to come up with this, and it's still not clear what it means anyway," he said.
"Her father has appointed a lawyer, the next step is to discuss with her father what the lawyer knows. And I'll probably go to the Iranian embassy," he added.
Ratcliffe said he had last spoken to his wife on May 30. On Friday, he led a rally outside the Iranian embassy in London to press for her release.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charitable organisation coordinating training programmes for journalists around the world.
"She has nothing to do with Iran in her work and the foundation doesn't work with Iran anyway, so we have no idea why she has been detained for more than two months, first in isolation and then in a common cell," foundation CEO Monique Villa said last week.