UK officials have played down the prospect of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's imminent release from Iran after it was suggested Britain was primed to pay £400 million to secure her release.

The Islamic Republic's state broadcaster – quoting an anonymous official – earlier claimed deals had been struck with both the UK and the US in order to release prisoners with Western links held in Iran.

It was said Boris Johnson's government had agreed to pay the £400m debt over the non-delivery of tanks dating back to the 1970s.

The US was said to have agreed a prisoner swap in exchange for the release of £5bn of frozen Iranian funds

However, both the UK and the US have this evening played down the reports with one US State Department official saying they "are not true."

UKgovernment sources also stressed the reports were "wrong" and insisted that nothing had been paid and they were not expecting the reported debt to be settled.  

Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe said he and his family “have heard nothing” about any deal.

The charity worker was arrested in Tehran in 2016 as she was returning to Britain.

Nazanin was last week released from a five-year jail term after being accused of spying.

But she was caged for another year on charges of propaganda activities against the regime.

It's also understood that officials believe there have been no developments in Nazanin's case this weekend. Iran has made similar claims in the past.  

And Tulip Siddiq, MP for Nazanin's constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn, tweeted: "I am aware there are news reports circulating about the debt being paid to #FreeNazanin. I have spoken to her family and they have heard nothing confirming any of these rumours.

"It was however welcome to hear Dominic Raab refer to her torture this morning on Marr. I hope the Government is doing all it can to get the hostages home."  

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today said Nazanin's treatment at the hands of Iran amounts to "torture".

He claimed she was being "subjected to a cat and mouse game" by the Iranians.

Asked by the BBC's Andrew Marr if she could be described as a hostage, he replied: "I think it's very difficult to argue against that characterisation.

"It is clear that she is subjected to a cat and mouse game that the Iranians, or certainly part of the Iranian system, engage with and they try and use her for leverage on the UK."

Mr Raab continued: "Nazanin is held unlawfully, in my view, as a matter of international law.

"I think she's being treated in the most abusive, tortuous way. I think it amounts to torture, the way she's being treated."

Nazanin was jailed in Tehran in 2016 after travelling to the country with her young daughter to visit her parents.

She was working as a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation when she was arrested at the airport and accused of planning to topple the regime.

She spent the last year of her ­five-year sentence under house arrest and her electronic ankle tag was removed in March.

But Nazanin was told she faced a new trial accused of "propaganda against the regime" and so was unable to travel back to the UK to be reunited with her husband Richard and young daughter Gabriella.

She has now been jailed for another year.

Boris Johnson this week slammed the latest sentence and vowed to do all he can to bring her back to the UK.

He said: "Iran's decision to sentence Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to another year in prison is cruel, inhumane and wholly unjustified.

"She must be allowed to return to her family in the UK and we will continue to do all we can to get her home."

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