‘I’m so worried’: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe fears Foreign Secretary’s resignation will delay case

Nazanin and Gabriella Ratcliffe

Nazanin and Gabriella Ratcliffe - Credit: Archant

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is “so worried” by the timing of the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s resignation, because it comes the week he was expected to make a final decision on whether to give her diplomatic protection.

The Free Nazanin campaign confirmed that Mr Johnson resigned before he was able to make a decision based on a file prepared by Foreign Office staff,

In a phone call from Evin prison in Iran to her husband Richard, Nazanin was upset by the news of yet another delay in her case.

She told her husband: “I can’t believe it – what is going on in that country?

“I am so worried – worried that the new Foreign Secretary will need to spend months first reading the file, and then wanting to build relations, and then make new visits. And I am left waiting.”

The resignation and subsequent cabinet reshuffle means that a decision on Nazanin’s request for diplomatic protection “will no longer happen imminently” according to the Free Nazanin campaign.

This is because the new Foreign Secretary will need to be fully briefed across his whole portfolio, and then the file on Nazanin’s request for diplomatic protection will need to be re-submitted.

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Nazanin has now been in Iranian prison for 829 days, and faces another legal battle after the Iranian government revived their second case against her earlier this summer.

Richard Ratcliffe has written to thank the outgoing Foreign Secretary for his efforts to secure Nazanin’s release.

He said: “While there were prominent mistakes made in Nazanin’s case, some of which had real consequences in the Autumn, and may still do, Mr Johnson was also genuine in their aftermath in his commitment to finally resolving her case.

“Even in the anger of the moment, when we finally met, it was clear to us all that he expressed a genuine willingness to leave no stone unturned, and for a few months we felt the momentum.”

Richard also said that the family had written to Jeremy Hunt - named as the new Foreign Secretary - to congratulate him and urge him to intervene in Nazanin’s incarceration.

He said: “Mr Hunt is the constituency MP for a number of Nazanin’s relatives here in the UK, and has been well briefed by them on the family’s concerns over the past two years, and thoughtful in his advice.”

Nazanin has again requested a meeting with the British Ambassador to Iran, while her family will meet with the Foreign Office again this week.