THE treatment of jailed British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been branded "inhumane" by a Gwent MP.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe - whose sister-in-law is a GP in Cwmbran - was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and jailed for spying - a charge she denies.

Questions were asked about her case in Parliament this week, where MPs heard her treatment had got "considerably worse" in recent weeks.

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds was among those who spoke. Addressing Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, he said: "These events have been very traumatic for Nazanin’s family, and not least for her sister-in-law, who lives in my constituency.

"Can the minister confirm that the ongoing inhuman treatment of Nazanin is doing great damage to Iran’s reputation on the international stage, and that that point will be made directly to Iran’s supreme leader and to the Iranian prime minister?"

Replying, Mr Burt said: "Anyone looking at these situations objectively, regardless of the politics of the situation and the complexities of what is happening in the Middle East, will see a mother and her child and wonder how on Earth this can be going on, particularly in a situation where, under Iranian law and recognising Iran’s role and its legal system, there is an opportunity to take a course of action that could change this perception of Iran

"That is something that we hope might now strike Iran."

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is serving a five-year jail sentence, and marked her 40th birthday in prison last month.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq raised the issue in Parliament on Monday, saying it had become a matter of "life and death".

"Nazanin has been given a ration of food which has slowly decreased," she said.

"Nazanin has been told the calls that she was allowed to make to her family and husband in London have now been restricted and will be further restricted. "She has also been told that she will be denied medical access even though she has discovered lumps on her breast.

"In light of this Nazanin has said she will go on hunger strike from next week."

She added: "The truth is this is a matter of life and death. Tough rhetoric will not do anything."

Mr Burt replied: "A request for diplomatic protection is still being considered as to whether or not this would add anything to the circumstances."