What does this decision mean? And what might it lead to? Sputnik discussed the development with Tehran-based journalist Hamid Reza Gholamzadeh.
Sputnik: In international law, diplomatic protection is a rare legal procedure. What does the decision of granting it to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe mean?
Hamid Reza Gholamzadeh: The action actually shows what kind of asset Mrs. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is for the British government; and it's some sort of proof that she has not been visiting her family, rather she was doing something for the British government — and it's another proof of fact that she has been doing something like espionage or something like that, which she is accused of.
Let's remember that Mr. Boris Johnson also had once admitted that she has been there for work, not just for a family visit. So all these things show that Iran is right in actually thinking she was [carrying out] illegal activity: she has been here with a tourist visa, but she has been doing work; she has been doing works of espionage, and these are all proofs of that.
And this [decision to grant her] diplomatic protection is showing that she is an asset to the British government, and she has been doing something for them. That's why they are [offering her] the support. But the point is that she hasn't come here with a diplomatic passport and a diplomatic visa. She has come here with a normal passport and with other citizens, and she was supposed to just pay a visit to her family and not [carry out] any activity and not do any work. And she has been doing that. So, technically, it's not going to help her — to just announce that someone is a political person, a diplomatic person.
Sputnik: Do you think that this new status will change anything for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe?
Sputnik: Since Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case has now become a legal dispute between Britain and Iran, how will this development impact on the two countries' diplomatic ties?
Hamid Reza Gholamzadeh: The legal procedure here in Iran — just like in many other countries — is independent from the government. So the government cannot force the judiciary to decide the way they want it to, or the way foreign countries demands them to. What's happening to Mrs. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is not something to blame the Iranian government for.
So the British government cannot actually put pressure on the Iranian government, and ask them to put pressure on the judiciary system. If the British government expects the Iranian government to put pressure on the judiciary, then it's not going to work like that. Maybe they'll want to use it as a means to cut ties or reduce diplomatic ties, but the Iranian government truly cannot do anything about that.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik