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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to meet Iranian Foreign Minister to discuss detained British nationals and nuclear deal

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will meet the Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian at the UN General Assembly in New York today (20 September 2021).

20 September 2021

  • Foreign Secretary will press Iran on ongoing consular cases including the arbitrary detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
  • Liz Truss will also call on Iran to return to the nuclear deal negotiating table before it is too late

The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will meet a number of her international counterparts for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today (20 September) – including Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian.

With the meeting coming within her first week in the role, Liz Truss will say that a reset of bilateral relations between our countries should be a shared interest, but Iran's continuing nuclear non-compliance and escalating nuclear programme is blocking important progress.

The Foreign Secretary will call for Iran to immediately release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Anoosheh Ashoori, Morad Tahbaz and all UK nationals unjustly trapped in Iran.

As the 2000th day of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's arbitrary detention approaches this week, she will ask the Iranian Foreign Minister to end her suffering, allowing her to return home to be reunited with her daughter and husband in the UK.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

I will be asking Iran to ensure the immediate and permanent release of all arbitrarily detained British nationals in Iran, and to begin working with us to mend our fractured relations.

The UK, US and our international partners are fully committed to a nuclear deal, but every day that Iran continues to delay talks whilst escalating its own nuclear programme means there is less space for diplomacy.

The Foreign Secretary will reiterate the US offer to lift sanctions in exchange for Iran returning to full compliance with its nuclear commitments. She will call on Iran to return to the Vienna talks over the nuclear deal (JCPoA), and once again return to compliance with its nuclear commitments, which is in the best interests of all parties.

Foreign Secretary Truss will also meet India's Foreign Minister Jaishankar at the UN General Assembly on Monday. The ministers will take the opportunity to evaluate the 2030 Roadmap published earlier this year, as a vision of UK-India relations over the next 10 years.

She will highlight our shared interests over Afghanistan, how the UK wants to work with India to prevent Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists, and limit terrorist groups' access to resources.


  • the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) participants (Iran, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, the EU) and the US began negotiations in Vienna to restore the JCPoA on 6 April 2021
  • there were 6 rounds of negotiations over 10 weeks until Iran paused talks on 20 June 2021, shortly after their Presidential election
  • Iran has not committed to return to Vienna, although other JCPoA participants and the US have said many times they are ready to do so
  • in parallel, Iran continues to escalate its nuclear programme. The latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports confirm that Iran has produced uranium metal enriched up to 20% for the first time, and significantly increased its production capacity of uranium enriched up to 60%. Iran has never been this close to having the ability to develop nuclear weapons

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