Nazanin was 'forced' to sign false confession by Iran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe arriving in Downing Street

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe arriving in Downing Street ahead of a meeting with the prime minister earlier this month - Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has revealed she was forced to sign a “false confession” in front of a UK government witness before she was allowed to leave Iran.

The British-Iranian dual national said the act captured on camera by the Iranians was “dehumanising”, and that she expects Tehran to use it against her in the future.

While “under duress”, she said she had to admit to the Iranians’ allegations after they detained her for six years having accused her of spying, a charge she and the UK denied.

The charity worker said she was taken to the airport by the Revolutionary Guard without seeing her parents on the day in March when she was to be freed.

“Instead I was made to sign the forced confession at the airport in the presence of the British government,” Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe told the BBC.

The Iranians told her the UK had now settled a historic £400 million debt dating to the 1970s.

“They told me that ‘you won’t be able to get on the plane’. And I knew that that was like a last minute game because I knew they were…They told me that they have been given the money,” she said.

“So what is the point of making me sign a piece of paper which is incorrect? It’s a false confession.”

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She told the BBC’s Emma Barnett that a British official was present at the time she signed the document.

“The whole thing of me signing the forced confession was filmed,” Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe added.

“It’s a tool. So I’m sure they will show that some day.”

Earlier this month, her husband Richard Ratcliffe alluded to “mistakes made at the end” of the ordeal in Iran.

Speaking after his wife’s first meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson since her release, Mr Ratcliffe said: “I think there are lessons to learn, there is a wider problem.

“We talked about the mistakes made at the end. It was rough at the end, and I think, when Nazanin is ready to talk about it, that is something that we need to go through.”

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, called for Liz Truss to answer the “serious questions” about Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s treatment.

The Labour politician said: “The foreign secretary must set out in parliament what she knew about this shocking revelation and what consequences it could have for my constituent.”

A government spokesman said: “Iran put Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe through a horrendous ordeal, right up to the moment she left the country.

“Throughout that time the UK government was working tirelessly to end her unfair detention, but it was always in Iran’s gift to release Nazanin and allow her to return to her family.

“We urge the government of Iran to end its practice of unfairly detaining British and other foreign nationals, and we will continue to work with international partners to that end.”