Tuesday 14 May 2019

Sir Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive, British Council: “Further to yesterday’s media reports, it sadly seems likely that our colleague Aras Amiri is the Iranian national who has allegedly been sentenced by Iranian authorities. We are dismayed by this reported sentence and are profoundly concerned for Aras’ safety and wellbeing, which has been our absolute priority throughout her detention since early 2018. We firmly refute the accusation levied against her. We believe that it is especially important to build mutual understanding between peoples and nations through education and culture, particularly where normal bilateral relationships struggle to flourish.”

“Aras has been employed for five years in London to help greater appreciation of Iranian culture in the UK, for example supporting translations of Iranian books into English. The British Council does not do any work in Iran and Aras did not travel to Iran for work. We will remain in close contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. www.britishcouncil.org