British officials said Wednesday that Nazanin Zaghari Ratklif and Anousheh Ashouri, two British dual national prisoners, had been released and had left Tehran airport.

Following the news, Omani state media reported Wednesday evening that the two dual nationals had arrived in the Omani capital, Muscat, “to prepare to return to Britain” on a Royal Omani Air Force flight.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Terrace announced on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 16 that the return of Nazanin Zaghari Ratklif and Anousheh Ashouri, two dual national prisoners in Iran, to Britain had been confirmed and that they would be reunited with their families by Wednesday evening.

Nazanin Zaghari Ratklif and Anousheh Ashouri

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is on a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, tweeted that the “unjust detention” of the two citizens was over.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Terrace said on Wednesday that Britain had settled a ۰۰ 400m debt with Iran.

The British government owed about 400 million pounds to Iran for not delivering the Chiftan tanks, the contract of which was signed more than four decades ago between the Pahlavi government and the then British government.

Nazanin Zaghari, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran airport on April 30, 2016, on charges of “espionage” at the end of a trip to Iran to visit her family, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Last year, despite the end of the dual citizen’s sentence, the Iranian government reopened a new case against her and sentenced Ms. Zaghari to one year in prison.

The accusations came at a time when it was later revealed that the authorities of the Islamic Republic had made the payment of the British debt to Iran a condition for the release of Nazanin Zaghari.

Anousheh Ashouri, an Iranian-British citizen, was sentenced in 2019 by the Iranian judiciary to ten years in prison for “spying for Mossad” and two years in prison for “accumulating illicit wealth.”

Among the dual-national prisoners in Iran, two others are British citizens, but there has been no news of their release: Murad Tahabaz, who also has American citizenship, and Mehran Raouf, a labor activist.

Murad Tahabaz

“Murad Tahabaz is currently on leave from prison,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Terrace said on Wednesday. “We will continue our efforts to ensure that Murad leaves Iran.”

Mehran Raouf

In recent years, the Iranian government has detained large numbers of foreign nationals and dual nationals on various charges, including espionage, collaborating with foreign security agencies, or acting against the regime, and some of these individuals have been exchanged with Iranian prisoners in other countries.

This practice of government has been repeatedly condemned by governments and human rights organizations around the world and interpreted as “hostage-taking” and “extortion” with the aim of “advancing political goals.”

Citizens of dual nationalities are taken hostage by the Iranian regime in order to earn money or exchange with individuals affiliated with Iran who have been arrested on charges of assassination and espionage in Western countries.

Hostage-taking is a clear example of assassination. Assassination has been part of the strategy of the ruling regime in Iran for more than 40 years.

In a series of reports, I have mentioned government assassination in Iran:

Republic of Assassination and Intimidation..Part 1

Republic of Assassination and Intimidation..Part II

Republic of Assassination and Intimidation..Part III

Republic of Assassination and Intimidation..Part IV