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Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe coronavirus fears: Symptoms improving but no furlough as family slam government ‘enabling Iran cover-up’

PUBLISHED: 11:23 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:46 26 March 2020

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison since 2016. Picture: Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison since 2016. Picture: Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

PA Wire/PA Images

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s symptoms “have improved” but the Iranian regime continue to resist testing her for coronavirus said her family this week.

Richard Ratcliffe also slammed the “misleading” statements made by UK government ministers – who referred to Nazanin being “in good health” – which he said were “enabling an Iranian cover-up”.

He continued by reiterating the Iranian regime’s promise of furlough – temporary release – for Nazanin had not been kept.

Richard also worried this had been again brought up, like in previous years, with an update in the ongoing High Court case between the UK and Iran set for this week.

Richard said: “With the failed promises it has been a week of ups and downs. The family has expressed concerns to the Foreign Office that we are being gamed.

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“If furlough comes, it will be the job of the government to ensure she is not used as a new kind of bargaining chip.”

Richard added: “Nazanin is not in good health, even with the improvements of the past couple of days. She was not in good health, even before coronavirus, which is why she has been brought several times before Iran’s Health Commission to decide whether she should be kept in prison.”

Tulip Siddiq, Nazanin’s MP (Lab, Hampstead and Kilburn) said: “The Iranian authorities are once again playing games with Nazanin, and I am sorry to say that the UK Government is not doing nearly enough to challenge them.

“Nazanin’s husband Richard has told the Foreign Office that she has still not been tested for coronavirus, yet Government Ministers have repeated false claims by the Iranian authorities that she has and is in good health. Those same sources said that she would be granted temporary release by Wednesday, and this has clearly not happened either.”

There are a number of other prisoners with either dual-nationality or strong connections to the UK imprisoned in Iran including Crouch End’s Aras Amiri - an Iranian citizen who works for the British Council but was arrested in Iran in 2019 – and south Londoner Anoosheh Ashoori.

Last week a Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are urgently seeking information from the Iranian authorities on reports that coronavirus is spreading in Evin prison.

“We call on the Iranian government to immediately allow health professionals into Evin prison to assess the situation of British-Iranian dual nationals there.”


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