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Lawyer: Iranian-British Woman Gets Another Year in Prison

File - British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe poses for a photo after she was released from house arrest in Tehran, Iran, March 7, 2021.

An Iranian-British woman long held in Tehran has been sentenced to another year in prison in Iran, her lawyer said Monday.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has already served a five-year prison sentence in the Islamic Republic.

Her lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told The Associated Press that she received the second sentence on a charge of spreading "propaganda against the system" for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.

State media in Iran did not immediately acknowledge the sentence. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told the BBC the court's decision was a bad sign and "clearly a negotiating tactic" by the Iranian authorities. Her sentencing comes amid ongoing negotiations in Vienna over Iran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

The British Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the new sentence.

"I don't think it is right at all that Nazanin should be sentenced to any more time in jail," he said. "I think it is wrong that she is there in the first place and we will be working very hard to secure her release from Iran, her ability to return to her family here in the U.K., just as we work for all our dual national cases in Iran."

Johnson added: "The government will not stop, we will redouble our efforts, and we are working with our American friends on this issue as well." Johnson and his office declined to elaborate on that comment.

The latest twist in Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case comes as Britain and Iran negotiate a long-running dispute over a debt of some 400 million pounds ($530 million) owed to Tehran by London. Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the late Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid the sum for Chieftain tanks that were never delivered.

While Iran has denied any connection to the tank payment, Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family and others have linked the two.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran's government, a charge that she, her supporters and rights groups deny. While employed at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, she was taken into custody at the Tehran airport in April 2016 as she was returning home to Britain after visiting family.

Rights groups accuse Iran of holding dual-nationals as bargaining chips for money or influence in negotiations with the West, something Tehran denies. Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, so detainees like Zaghari-Ratcliffe cannot receive consular assistance. A U.N. panel has criticized what it describes as "an emerging pattern involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of dual nationals" in Iran.