#freenazanin: Jailed mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces further charges in Iran
- Credit: Archant
Jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces being hauled back into an Iranian court to face new charges.
Husband Richard Ratcliffe says Nazanin, who was arrested in April 2016 as she tried to return home from a family holiday with her daughter Gabriella, could be taken back to court witin a week on further charges of “spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime.”
He says the new charges come as foreign secretary Boris Johnson prepares to meet his French and German counterparts and EU representatives for talks on Iran in Brussels ahead of a trip to Iran.
Richard has accused the Iranians of using Nazanin as a “bargaining chip”.
His wife, whose mental and physical health is deteriorating in jail, told him of the development in a 5.30am phone call on Monday and added: “I have no clue why they have started all this nonsense again. They know Boris is coming.”
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Nazanin told him: “Please take me out of this, please. My parents have had enough. I want my daughter back. She needs both of us. So tell the world. Enough of this nonsense.”
Gabriella is being looked after by Nazanin’s parents in Tehran and Richard has not seen her since they were arrested at Tehran Airport.
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Charity worker Nazanin, 39, from Fortune Green Road, is serving a five-year sentence in the notorious Evin prison, in Tehran on undisclosed charges of plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime.
She said in a statement: “Sometimes when I come back from the visit with Gabriella, after saying goodbye to her, I feel like I cannot live without her, I want to go back and hold her.
“She kisses me so hard. It is hard to say goodbye to her. She blows kisses all the way as she goes up the stairs, and everyone stands there watching.
“After the news of a new court case again, yesterday was one of those days. I kept thinking, how did I survive without her for 26 months?”
Mr Ratcliffe said: “The UK needs to do better by British Iranians - at the moment it is failing to protect them.
“UK policy is not making it safe for British citizens.”
He urged Mr Johnson to have “Nazanin and the cases of all the other British citizens at the top of his priority list” during his meetings in Brussels.
He said: “A deal that protects people is one that can work. Failure to make it safe for people to be free from being held arbitrarily, free to visit their families in peace, will make any deal impossible to sustain. Governments should not downplay the significance of this fact.
“We hope the foreign Secretary visits Iran as soon as possible, for the safety of all British citizens. We hope this time a way can be found for him not to return again empty-handed.”
The meetings come after Donald Trump withdrew from the international Iran nuclear deal.
Mr Johnson said Britain stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Paris on the need to preserve the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The plan removed sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran giving up its military nuclear programme.
Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May has used telephone talks with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to call for British prisoners and dual nationals to be released on humanitarian grounds.
Richard said: “The case against Nazanin is part of a pattern. A number more British citizens have been arrested in Iran recently – including three in the last month.”
He believes the arrests are related to a historic £450 million debt owed by the British over an arms deal with Iran dating back to before the Islamic Revolution almost 40 years ago. He said this caseis due to be heard in court in 2019. “This had seemed close to solution during the Foreign Secretary’s last visit to Iran. We hope that the Foreign Secretary’s visit brings success second time round.”