An open letter to Conservative Party MPs about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British woman imprisoned in Iran

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Thursday 12 October 2017 17:05 BST
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with husband Richard and daughter Gabriella. She faces 16 years imprisonment in Iran
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with husband Richard and daughter Gabriella. She faces 16 years imprisonment in Iran (

While I may not be your constituent, I am writing to all of you in relation to the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual national who is currently sitting in an Iranian jail on what can only be described as trumped up charges.

The British Government has been utterly ineffective in bringing pressure to bear in her case, as this excellent piece in The Independent lays out.

I would urge that every Conservative MP please write to the Foreign Secretary to make sure that the Ambassador in Iran:

  • Makes it clear that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is not a spy, and says this publicly
  • Demands her immediate release because she is not guilty of any crime – not just on humanitarian grounds

I am sure none of you would like to see your own children grow up without their father/mother because your spouse was locked up in a foreign jail having committed no crime.

Theresa May recently told the United Nations that it is failing the world. In the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, she is failing one of her own citizens. It is time for her to act.

Christopher Key
East Twickenham

Banning diesel and petrol vehicles from Oxford would never work

You report today that Oxford is going to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre. How will parents deliver their sons and daughters to, and collect them from, their colleges at the beginning and end of term? Most students arrive with a car-load of clothes, books, bicycles, computers, kettles, toasters etc, much more than can be carried on a park-and-ride bus.

Julian Gall

Don’t stop at energy price caps

Our Government has moved to support hard-working families with an energy price cap. Can this be extended to stopping supermarkets with local dominance, such as those in rural areas, charging more than the nearest main town, or even nationally? We spend a lot more on food than on energy and many are being penalised by these local pricing policies.

This could also be extended to other areas such as transport, where prices for holiday-season transport and peak travel tickets are eye-wateringly high, and property, where developers are making huge profits from the housing shortage.

If “rip-offs” are to be stopped let us do it properly.

Michael Mann

How Liz Truss still has a ministerial job is beyond me

I always get a little bit excited when I see Liz Truss is appearing on the TV and her appearance on Daily Politics was no exception. The “right honourable” lady never lets us down.

She was pressed on universal credit and waffled her way around without answering any questions. She was asked why people who are financially strapped are being charged 55p per minute to phone the Jobcentre, which she couldn’t answer.

And after telling us all about a visit to her Jobcentre, which is doing a fabulous job, she almost made it sound like people looked forward to going there.

She has been shuffled off environment… shuffled off justice... shuffled off education. We live in hope that in the not too distant future she will be shuffled out of the Treasury. And perhaps then she will shuffle off to the Jobcentre. Where do they get these people from?

David Higgins

Less school testing is no new idea

It beggars belief that Ofsted’s new head, Amanda Spielman, is now proclaiming that teaching to the test hollows out learning – as if they’d thought of this brilliant “new” idea themselves! Some of us have been banging on about this issue for many years in whatever forum will listen to us – and Government and Ofsted have been in wanton, culpable denial about this grave issue.

Moreover, in this new pronouncement, there’s no reference whatsoever to reforming or, preferably, doing away altogether with high-stakes testing, iniquitous league performance tables and the like.

They can’t have it both ways: either schools are to be judged, as currently, on their “performance” as measured by test and examination results alone; or they must teach a far wider, less test-driven curriculum.

Put differently, without the necessary accompanying changes in the audit and accountability culture, this new edict from Ofsted will merely generate yet more professional dissonance for our poor beleaguered teachers in what was already one of Freud’s “impossible professions” – even before the advent of the audit culture.

The punitive, unreformable Ofsted regime is the handmaiden of the toxic audit and accountability culture; and as such, it is emphatically part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Dr Richard House

Donald Trump’s achievements

It strikes me that few people seem to appreciate the scale of Donald Trump’s achievements: having first claimed that women could be “grabbed by the pussy” he then went on to prove that the American presidency could be grabbed by the arse…

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

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