Hopes raised for Nazanin as Iranian state TV claims UK has resolved debt dispute

Iranian state TV has claimed Britain will pay a £400 million debt to Tehran in a move that could pave the way for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

But there was no immediate acknowledgement from the UK Government on Sunday that a deal had been struck over the long-running dispute cited as a reason for her detention.

Quoting an anonymous official, a state broadcaster said deals had been reached with both Britain and the US in order to release prisoners with Western links held in Iran.

It was said the UK had agreed to pay the £400 million debt over the non-delivery of tanks dating back to the 1970s.

The US was said to have agreed a prisoner swap in exchange for the release of seven billion dollars (£5 billion) of frozen Iranian funds, but Washington did also not immediately acknowledge any deal.

UK officials have downplayed the prospect of Nazanin’s imminent release from Iran after latest development.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of the British-Iranian charity worker, said the family had not been updated but welcomed the signals from Tehran over the long-running dispute as “a good sign”.

The Foreign Office said “legal discussions are ongoing” over the debt despite the claim made on Iranian state TV, which cited an anonymous official.

It was said that the UK Government’s position had not changed over the weekend and that Iran had made the claim before without the mother of one being released.

Mr Ratcliffe, who has campaigned for the release of his wife after her detention in 2016, told the PA news agency: “We haven’t heard anything.

“It’s probably a good sign that it’s being signalled, just as last week’s sentence was a bad sign.

“But it feels part of the negotiations rather than the end of them.”