UK Welcomes Released of British-Australian Scholar Jailed in Iran

November 26, 2020 Updated: November 26, 2020

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has welcomed the release of a British-Australian scholar who had been detained in Iran for more than two years.

“I welcome news that Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been able to return to Australia and her family,” Raab said on Twitter on Thursday.

“I call on the Iranian government to release all the remaining dual British nationals arbitrarily detained and allow them to reunite with their loved ones,” he said.

Moore-Gilbert, 33, was a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne. She was detained at an airport in Tehran while trying to leave the country after attending an academic conference in 2018.

She was sent to Tehran’s Evin prison and given a 10-year jail sentence for alleged spying. She had vehemently denied the charges and maintained her innocence.

The Australian government confirmed on Wednesday Moore-Gilbert had been released and will soon be reunited with her family.

Austalia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she was “extremely pleased and relieved.”

“The Australian Government has consistently rejected the grounds on which the Iranian Government arrested, detained and convicted Dr. Moore-Gilbert,” said Payne in a statement, adding that the government position remains unchanged.

Moore-Gilbert and her family asked for privacy, but issued a statement expressing gratitude for the work done to gain her release.

“Thank you also to all of you who have supported me and campaigned for my freedom,” she said, in a statement released through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Iranian regime has in recent years detained a number of foreign nationals and dual citizens, many of them on charges of espionage.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her daughter Gabriella pose for a photo in London on Feb. 7, 2016.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her daughter Gabriella pose for a photo in London on Feb. 7, 2016. (Karl Brandt/Courtesy of Free Nazanin campaign/Handout via Reuters)

British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was jailed in 2016 on spying charges which she denies.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who has been campaigning for her return to the UK, welcomed reports of Moore-Gilbert’s release.

“Nazanin and I are really happy for Kylie and her family,” he told the BBC. “They have been through so much, borne with such dignity. And it is an early Christmas present for us all, that one more of us is out and on their way home, one more family can begin to heal.”

Reuters contributed to this report.