September 26, 2018 / 2:53 PM / 3 months ago

UK PM May lobbies Iran's Rouhani for release of detained aid worker

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. Jason DeCrow/AP/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May lobbied for the release of detained British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during a meeting on Tuesday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, May’s office said.

“She ... raised our consular cases in Iran, including that of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, before expressing her serious concern at Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ongoing detention, and called for her release,” it added in a statement on Wednesday.

Britain is seeking the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit.

She was jailed for five years after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News.

Earlier this month, the British Foreign Office advised British-Iranian dual nationals against all but essential travel to Iran, tightening up its existing travel advice and warning it has only limited powers to support them if they are detained.

May is due to speak at the General Assembly, and will also be meeting several other world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, during her trip.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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