Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: ‘Shameless’ minister’s prisoner swap ploy floored Nazanin says husband Richard

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunited with daughter Gabriella. Picture: Free Nazanin Campaign

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunited with daughter Gabriella. Picture: Free Nazanin Campaign - Credit: Archant

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard has slammed the “shameless” actions of the Iranian foreign minister – who offered to swap Nazanin for imprisoned Iranians abroad before changing his mind last week.

Richard also told this newspaper that learning of a potential route out of Evin Prison – only to have it immediately ripped away – had affected Nazanin’s mental health.

He said a psychiatrist had urgently recommended she be admitted to hospital, but this had not happened.

Richard told the Ham&High: “We were absolutely blindsided. It was just outrageous, and rightly Jeremy Hunt reacted strongly.”

When it “filtered through” to Nazanin in prison, Richard said: “It had a really negative effect on her. She just had a meltdown.”

Richard said after learning the news, Nazanin saw her psychiatrist on Sunday.

This had been scheduled for a while, but they gave her an immediate referral to hospital – though his has not happened

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Richard added: “She’s talking about feeling depressed, angry, but she’s also talking about taking matters into her own hands – so another hunger strike.”

“This was a game, it was done to get America’s attention, and it worked – Donald Trump was soon tweeting.”

“It’s outrageous.Iran are not taking the diplomatic protection very seriously.

“I am a lot more angry. It was shameless. The one thing it clarified was that Nazanin’s being used as a bargaining chip.”

Richard said he didn’t imagine it was likely that Nazanin would be allowed to go to hospital, but said he thought the referral would be strong evidence for the Iranian Health Commission, who are still due to make a decision on whether Nazanin’s health is such that she cannot be kept in prison.She has recently had a number of tests and scans.

Richard said he wanted this to be the Foreign Office’s priority, now. He said: “I want them to be pushing really hard for a decision and a medical release.

On Thursday last week the foreign minister told an audience in New York that he had the “authority” to swap Nazanin for an Iranian imprisoned in Australia. However he rowed back from this, saying his offer was only for US prisoners the next day. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt had dismissed the plans as a “vile ploy”.

The Foreign Office had earlier dismissed any possibility of a prisoner swap deal.