Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe returns to family in the UK

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on the plane home from Iran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on the plane home from Iran - Credit: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is on her way home to West Hampstead after six years' detention in Iran, the government has confirmed.

Husband Richard said she asked for him to make her a cup of tea on her arrival back in Britain.

Speaking to broadcasters alongside their daughter Gabriella, Mr Ratcliffe said: “There will probably be a couple of days peace and quiet somewhere else, and then back here.

“The first thing she wanted was for me to make her a cup of tea, so we will do (that).

“I think actually we were looking at the house and it needs a bit of tidying, so there might be a bit of tidying, perhaps directed by mummy when she comes back.”

Richard said he had been “kept out of” discussions about the debt the UK owed Iran, which the foreign secretary confirmed on Wednesday had been settled.

Asked by broadcasters about the UK settling the £400 million debt, Richard said: “We have obviously been kept out of the loop on it and at various points I’ve said, ‘look, listen, this is why she’s being held, it is why it has gone on so long, and this is not our fight, please solve it’.

Most Read

“And until this point we have been kept out of it.”

He said the situation had been kept “behind closed doors”, adding: “So I don’t know what’s happened, I’ve seen briefings and so on. I’m relieved the problem has been solved.

“I think the government has two jobs – to protect people in situations like this and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Part of that is to do what you need to do to get people home and part of that is to ensure those who took her learn the lesson not to continue doing it – and that second part is for another day, but for today I’m really glad the way things are.”

MP Tulip Siddiq tweeted at 1.20pm on Wednesday: "It's been six long years - and I can't believe I can FINALLY share this photo. Nazanin is now in the air flying away from 6 years of hell in Iran.

"My heart goes out to Gabriella and Richard, as her long journey back home to them gets closer by the minute. #NazaninIsFree ❤️"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday: “I am very pleased to confirm that the unfair detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori in Iran has ended today, and they will now return to the UK.

“The UK has worked intensively to secure their release and I am delighted they will be reunited with their families and loved ones.”

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news, but it hasn’t come a moment too soon.

“Nazanin and Anoosheh should never have been detained in the first place – they were both jailed on trumped-up national security charges, a familiar tactic in Iran.

“Nazanin and Anoosheh have unquestionably been used as political pawns by the Iranian authorities – and the Iranian authorities have acted with calculated cruelty, seeking to wring the maximum diplomatic value out of their captivity.

“The Government needs to follow up on Nazanin and Anoosheh’s release by immediately renewing its calls for the release of the UK nationals Mehran Raoof and Morad Tahbaz, both of whom are still going through an ordeal all too similar to Nazanin and Anoosheh’s.

“It’s been clear for years that the Iranian authorities are targeting foreign nationals with spurious national security-related charges to exert diplomatic pressure, and it’s more important than ever that Britain works multilaterally to combat this insidious practice.”

London-born American-Iranian Morad Tahbaz has been detained in Iran since 2018 and is understood to have been released under house arrest. Ms Siddiq said on Wednesday that he previously lived in her constituency.

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP said: "At a dark time, this is joyful news for us all to celebrate.

"Members of the public, NGOs, Parliamentarians and, of course, Nazanin and Anoosheh’s families have campaigned tirelessly for their release - it now looks like they are finally coming home. 

"But it should not have taken years to reach this day - nearly six years in the case of Nazanin. We should never have been in the situation where UK nationals are being used as political bargaining chips.

"The UK Government has questions to answer for whether their actions, including those of the current Prime Minister, have prolonged this ordeal. I hope the Foreign Secretary will commit to an independent inquiry. 

"I’m sure many tears are set to be cried in the next twenty-four hours. But for once I hope they are tears of joy."