Issues related to Iran are set to feature in talks later Monday between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his host in London, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
The bilateral talks come a day ahead of the first face-to-face discussions in two years of foreign and development ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations and other invited representatives. The UK holds this year’s presidency of the G-7.
Blinken’s visit to London, his first since being appointed by US President Joe Biden, comes amid mounting speculation of a prisoner exchange deal with Iran. Prisoner exchanges are not uncommon and were a feature of the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and leading powers. Biden has indicated that he is looking to restart nuclear talks with Tehran after his predecessor, Donald Trump, pulled the US out of the agreement.
In Britain, there’s particular interest in the wellbeing of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was last week sentenced to an additional year in prison on charges of spreading “propaganda against the system.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government is doing what it can amid reports in Iran that Britain would pay a 400 million pound ($550 million) debt to secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.
“We of course make sure that we do everything we can to look after the interests of Nazanin and all the very difficult dual national cases we have in Tehran,” he said.