Nazanin's family 'still waiting' and expect Iran ordeal to pass 2,000 days

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictures shortly after she was allowed to leave prison on furlough in March 2020 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured shortly after she was allowed to leave prison on furlough in March 2020 - Credit: Free Nazanin

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family are now preparing for her ordeal in Iran to stretch into the autumn. 

The West Hampstead mum was told she faced a further year in prison - and would be banned from travel for a further year after that  - at the end of April 

Nazanin's family - along with the loved ones of many others arbitrarily detained in Iran - were hopeful that negotiations around reviving the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna over the past month might lead to progress in securing her release. 

Richard Ratcliffe was among those to demand that Iran's hostage-taking - its holding of dual-national prisoners for diplomatic and political benefit - formed a key part of discussions. 

However, this week he told this newspaper: "My sense is the Vienna hopes have been missed, though no one quite wants to admit it.

"So I think we are likely still to be going in the Autumn." 

September 23 will mark her 2,000 day stranded in Iran, while the couple's daughter Gabriella will turn seven on June 11.

Richard said the family were essentially "still waiting" for any progress. After her second conviction - on always-denied charges of spreading anti-regime propaganda - her lawyers submitted an appeal, and since then she has remained out of prison but in limbo.

Shortly after her new sentence was handed down, rumours began to circulate in Iranian media that the British government had agreed to pay the £400million it owes Iran. This dates back to the 1970s and a shipment of tanks it never received. 

But this was quickly debunked by the UK authorities - though the same week saw Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab agree it was "hard to argue" against calling Nazanin a hostage. 

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The £400m has frequently been raised by Iranian figures in relation to Nazanin's case, and she has over the years frequently been told that the UK resolving its debt is connected to her freedom. 

The UK government has always said it is "doing everything it can" to free Nazanin - and the others held in similar circumstances in Iran. 

There are at least four British citizens detained in Iran - Nazanin, Anoosheh Ashoori, Mehran Raoof and Morad Tahbaz - along with UK resident Aras Amiri. The latter is a woman who lived in Crouch End and worked for the British Council.