Iran claims United Kingdom ready to pay £400m for citizen’s release

FILE- Iran's national flag flutters in the wind as the Milad telecommunications tower and buildings are seen in the background Tehran Iran

Meanwhile, the USA was said to have agreed to a prisoner swap in exchange for the release of around £5 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

The state TV report did not name the Iranians Tehran hopes to get the in swap.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Hartlepool, Boris Johnson said ministers were doing "everything we can to look after the interests of Nazanin and all the very hard dual national cases we have in Tehran".

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the reports "are not true".

'On the one hand, they are saying that these proceedings are legitimate, we don't agree with that at all, but then also saying that they are linked to this legal dispute - it can't be both.

Americans had previously sought to oblige Iran to release American spies without giving any benefits to Iran. "They are over what nuclear restrictions Iran will accept on its program to ensure that they can never get a nuclear weapon". "We raise this with Iran and our interlocutors all the time, but so far there's no agreement".

Iran is now holding four known American prisoners: Baquer and Siamak Namazi; Iranian-American businessman Emad Shargi; and conservationist Morad Tahbaz.

Although no formal proposal for a swap has been presented to officials in Washington, let alone been signed off on by the White House, the specificity of the reports from Iran suggested that working-level consideration of a deal is at least underway.

British dual nationals such as Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe should not be used as "political leverage" by Iranian authorities, he said.

London admits it owes Iran over the contract involving a British intermediate company, International Military Services (IMS), but is reportedly constrained by international sanctions in its ability to repay. "We've said that debt is something we want to have resolved", he added.

FILE- Richard Ratcliffe husband of charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe imprisoned in Iran calls for his wife's release outside the Iranian Embassy in London Jan. 16 2017

The financial dispute dates back to the 1970s, when the United Kingdom failed to deliver tanks to Iran despite accepting payment.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced last week to an additional year in prison, her lawyer said, for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian embassy in London in 2009.

That came after she completed a five-year sentence in the Islamic Republic after being convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran's government, a charge that she, her supporters and rights groups deny.

Her family and the foundation, a charity that operates independently of media firm Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters, deny all charges against her and say she was only visiting relatives in Iran.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who spoke to Zaghari-Ratcliffe on Wednesday, said she was being held "unlawfully" and "being treated in the most abusive" way.

"Iran has always emphasized the comprehensive exchange of prisoners between the two countries", he said, without elaborating.

"I think it amounts to torture the way she's being treated, and there is a very clear, unequivocal obligation on the Iranians to release her", he told BBC television on Sunday.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told the Associated Press he was not aware of any swap. Iran has not held direct negotiations with the USA during the talks, however.

The agreement, which curbs Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, has been on life support since then United States president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.