Iranians walk past a large picture of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (L), and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a park in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2016..
(photo credit: RAHEB HOMAVANDI/TIMA VIA REUTERS)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has intensified its warning to both British and British-Iranian dual nationals on traveling to Iran, advising both parties to avoid it at all costs.
"There is a risk that British nationals, and a higher risk that British/Iranian dual nationals, could be arbitrarily detained in Iran. All British nationals should consider carefully the risks of traveling to Iran. The Iranian authorities don’t recognise dual nationality for Iranian citizens and therefore don’t grant consular access for FCO officials to visit them in detention.
The strict warning comes a few days after an Iranian British Council Member Aras Amri was reportedly sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly spying on Iran for the British government. She herself was arbitrarily detained in Iran earlier in 2018 while on a family visit.
"Dual nationals face an intolerable risk of mistreatment if they visit Iran," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in the statement.
Hunt also said he needed to caution Iranian nationals living in Britain, who returned to Iran to visit family, that they might be perceived to have personal links to British government institutions.
Iranian security services might be suspicious of other people with British connections, including those linked to institutions based in the UK, Britain's Foreign Ministry said.
"Despite the UK providing repeated opportunities to resolve this issue, the Iranian regime’s conduct has worsened. Having exhausted all other options, I must now advise all British-Iranian dual nationals against traveling to Iran."
The instructions advise British citizens not to come within within 100 kilometers from the borders of Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran.
"If you’re a British-Iranian dual national and are subsequently detained in Iran, the FCO’s ability to provide consular support is extremely limited," read the updated advisory warning on the FCO's website.
The warning came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West, with Hunt saying on Thursday that Britain agreed with the United States that Tehran posed an increased threat.
Another dual national citizen who was detain in Iran in 2016 on similar charges presented to Amri, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was sentenced to jail for five years after being detained in an Iranian airport on her way home back to Britain. The two are currently being held is the same area of Evin prison in Tehran, according to the BBC
The FCO gave a similar warning last month after the heavy rainfalls which caused massive flooding and damages all around Iran, and advised against "all but essential travel" to the Islamic Republic. The FCO claims that there are possible water-born diseases which could be contracted as well as warnings about previous protests in the country, exclaiming that it is not safe for British citizens to travel to the country, for both political and health reasons.Reuters contributed to this report.
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