Let’s get the politics out of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case. It’s a humanitarian issue | Peter Westmacott

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove haven’t helped her plight. But Britain and Iran have more in common than many people realise, and share many values

• Peter Westmacott was British ambassador to the US from 2012 to 2016

Britain’s relations with Iran have always been complex, in part because we used to meddle so much in that country’s domestic affairs. Early in the 20th century we divided the country into spheres of influence with Russia. After the first world war we helped put Reza Shah Pahlavi on the throne and then replaced him with his son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1941. Twelve years later Britain enlisted US support in getting rid of the democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq.

Related: Officials raise Iran-Iraq earthquake death toll to at least 530

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