Iran frees British-Iranian aid worker, for now

Iran has released British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from house arrest at the end of her five-year prison sentence, but she has been summoned to court again on another charge, her lawyer said on Sunday.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is seen here with her husband and daughter.

She was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment.

She served out most of her sentence in Tehran's Evin prison, but was released to house arrest last March during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, the authorities removed her ankle tag.

Iran's judiciary was not immediately available to comment about the release. Her family and the foundation deny the charge.

Her lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told an Iranian website a hearing for Zaghari-Ratcliffe's second case has been scheduled on March 14.

In this case, she is accused of propaganda for participating in a rally in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009 and giving an interview to the BBC Persian TV channel, he said.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab welcomed the removal of Zaghari-Ratcliffe's ankle tag but said Iran continued to put her and her family through a "cruel and an intolerable ordeal."

He said in a statement she must be released permanently so she can return to her family in the UK.