Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband welcomes Boris Johnson's offer to visit jailed Hampstead mother
PUBLISHED: 17:55 02 November 2017
The husband of jailed British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has welcomed foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s offer to visit his wife in her Iranian prison.
A day after Mr Johnson agreed for the first time he would like to visit the Hampstead mum, Richard Ratcliffe said: “It was a good thing he condemned Iran’s treatment of Nazanin and offered to go and visit.
“It’s good it’s now on record he is going to visit,” he added.
Nazanin was arrested at Tehran airport on a return journey to London after a family holiday with her daughter Gabriella in April last year.
The charity worker, of Fortune Green Road, was later sentenced to five years at a secret trial on charges of plotting against Iran.
On October 8 Nazanin was dragged back to court and told new charges had been brought by the Revolutionary Guard which could see her sentence extended.
When asked by Ann Clwyd MP at a hearing of the foreign affairs select committee on Wednesday if he would like to visit Nazanin the foreign secretary said he would.
“One has to be very careful about this. I hope a way forward can be found. I find [Nazanin’s situation] deeply depressing and contrary to the interests of the Iranian people,” Mr Johnson said.
And he added the situation was complicated because Iran does not recognise dual nationality.
On learning of the news from family in Iran Mr Ratcliffe said Nazanin felt “unsettled but pleased” at the prospect of Mr Johnson visiting her in Evin prison. The next step, Mr Ratcliffe said, was for his wife to write a letter to the Iranian prosecutor general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri to ask permission.
In recent weeks Mr Montazeri has appeared to acknowledge Nazanin’s British nationality by recognising her marriage to a British man and her work for the BBC raising hopes even more of a visit by Mr Johnson.
Mr Ratcliffe said he had yet to hear of any firm plans but added a visit before Christmas would be a good time as he hoped to bring his wife and their three-year-old daughter Gabriella home in time for the festive season.
“Gabriella wants to come back so she can see Father Christmas,” Mr Ratcliffe said before going on to thank Nazanin’s supporters as a petition calling for her release reached a million signatures.
“It feels like there’s a new momentum now,” he said.