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Foundation denies spying allegation in Iran

The Thomson Reuters Foundation denied an accusation in Iran that it had spied on the country.

The charge was published on an Iranian website, Mizan Online.

“This attack is completely untrue and a blatant attempt to seek to justify the imprisonment of British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe [photo], who is an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation,” the Foundation’s chief executive Monique Villa said in a statement.

“The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charitable organization based in London aimed at improving socio-economic progress through media development, pro bono legal services, and increased awareness of humanitarian issues such as climate change and human trafficking. It is a totally separate legal entity to Thomson Reuters.

“The Foundation also has no direct connection to Reuters, the news agency, which operates independently of Thomson Reuters and the Foundation.

“All projects undertaken by the Thomson Reuters Foundation are with the full cooperation, coordination, and agreement of any host country. It has no programmes that are based in or focused on Iran.

“The Thomson Reuters Foundation is not a propaganda organisation for any government, does not engage in advocacy, and certainly does not conduct any form of espionage or so-called ‘intelligence work’.”  

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on 3 April while visiting her parents in Tehran with her young daughter and has been in prison ever since. She has now been charged and will stand trial in the Revolutionary Court. The nature of any alleged confession has not been disclosed and would have been obtained while she was held under interrogation in solitary confinement for 45 days, the Foundation said. 

“We would urge the Iranian authorities to release this vulnerable and innocent young mother immediately.”

British prime minister Theresa May raised concerns on Tuesday with Iran's president Hassan Rouhani over several cases involving dual British-Iranian nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

"The Prime Minister raised concerns about a number of consular cases involving dual nationals, including that of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and stressed the importance of resolving these cases as we worked to strengthen our diplomatic relationship," May's office said after the two leaders spoke on the telephone. ■

Thomson Reuters Foundation