G7 Urges Iran To Release Dual-Nationals, Supports Vienna Nuclear Talks
Foreign and development ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries Wednesday urged Iran to free foreign and dual nationals who they said were arbitrarily imprisoned. The G7 foreign ministers also said they are committed to ensuring that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon and welcomed the talks in Vienna to accomplish a mutual return of the United States and Iran to their commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"We are deeply concerned by the continued human rights violations and abuses in Iran, including those affecting the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression. Foreign and dual nationals and human rights defenders have faced arbitrary arrest, detention and lengthy prison sentences and should be released," they said in a communique after their first in-person meeting in London in nearly two years to discuss global issues.
The United States and Britain on Sunday [May 2] denied that they had agreed to secure the release of their nationals and duals nationals held in Iran in return for a ransom or to unblocking Iran's frozen funds abroad. Iranian state media said last week Tehran would free four Americans accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians held in the US and the release of $7 billion in frozen Iranian funds, also saying that British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be released once Britain had paid off a £400 million military debt owed to Tehran for over forty years.
"The JCPOA remains the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. It is vital that Iran preserves the space for these discussions by avoiding any further escalation," the communique said while calling the latest Iranian actions which have no credible civilian requirement and particularly grave implications, "a matter of deep concern". A restored and fully implemented JCPOA could also pave the way to address regional and security concerns related to Iran, including in support of the non-proliferation regime, the communique said.
"We condemn Iran’s support to proxy forces and non-state armed actors, including through financing, training and the proliferation of missile technology and weapons," G7 ministers declared while calling on Iran to stop all ballistic missile activities inconsistent with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which sanctioned the JCPOA in 2015.
The shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 by Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in the aftermath of Iran's missile attack on US military bases in Iraq on January 8, 2020 was also highlighted by the G7 ministers. The communique said they support efforts to ensure a thorough and credible investigation into the tragedy to hold Iran accountable. Ukraine has alleged that Iran hides information over the downing of its airliner that killed all 176 onboard.