'Another Christmas without Nazanin': Mothers march to Foreign Office

Campaigners led by Richard Ratcliffe on the march

Campaigners led by Richard Ratcliffe on the march - Credit: Stephen Quentin

Mothers marched to Whitehall today and delivered a Christmas tree in a poignant reminder that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is set to spend her sixth festive period detained in Iran.  

Around 100 people, joined by Nazanin’s husband Richard, and Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, urged the government to end their inaction by bringing Nazanin home to north London.  

As some attendees travelled from afar as Stafford and Havant, with the event organised by parents’ group Pramstead, Richard said the protest reflected a message of “holding onto hope, and holding onto home”. 

The march on December 10 started at Green Park before ending at the Foreign Office where a decorated tree with personal messages was delivered to foreign secretary Liz Truss. 

“It was partly to represent the hope that Nazanin would come back for Christmas,” Richard said, “and also to observe that another Christmas is passing with her not home.  

“In the last couple of days it’s clearly hit her quite hard that another year is passing and she's not home.  

“This is now the sixth Christmas that she's had taken from her. It's a nice thing stolen from her. None of this is her fault. This is someone else's fight that's been playing out through her life.” 

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Nazanin, 43, was arrested in Tehran in 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government – charges always denied and widely refuted.  

Richard recently completed a second hunger strike, this time for 21 days. After 10 days in and out of hospital he says he is starting to feel normal again, but concedes his direct action took a heavy toll on the family. 

The father said he is less hopeful about Nazanin’s release than one year ago, and that his wife doesn’t believe she will be home anytime soon.  

“Nazanin has clearly been really low, not quite all day crying but long periods of just feeling it,” Richard added.

Richard Ratcliffe and Tulip Siddiq MP (centre and right)

Richard Ratcliffe and Tulip Siddiq MP (centre and right) - Credit: Tulip Siddiq MP

Ms Siddiq said: “The march was bittersweet. It’s amazing to see how many people turn up to all the demonstrations in support of Nazanin, reflecting the strength of feeling in Hampstead and Kilburn around her plight. 

“But we shouldn’t be having to do this again after nearly six years of my constituent being unlawfully held in Iran.” 

The MP added: “The prime minister needs to take much stronger action to bring Nazanin home, including paying the debt we owe to Iran which we know is linked to her case.”