Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Waiting game for West Hampstead family after foreign secretary demands Iran release imprisoned dual-nationals
PUBLISHED: 15:46 20 November 2018
With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe expecting to spend her third Christmas in Evin prison, the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt used a visit to Iran to slam the middle-eastern nation's imprisonment of UK dual nationals including the West Hampstead mum.
In Iran, Mr Hunt visited Nazanin’s four year old daughter Gabriella – who has been stranded in Iran and separated from both of her parents since Nazanin was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016.
From Evin jail, where she has been incarcerated, Nazanin had knitted dolls for both Gabriella and the foreign secretary’s own daughter. Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin’s husband, welcomed Mr Hunt’s visit.
He told the Ham&High: “I think yesterday was good for us. I’ve spoken to Nazanin this morning to tell her about what happened, she said her stomach has been like a dishwasher with nerves.
“Gabriella enjoyed things, she had a beaming smile on her face.
“We’ll have to wait and see how Jeremy Hunt’s words go down in Iran. We are very pleased with how clear and no nonsense he has been with them.”
Gabriella has been staying with her mum’s family in Iran since Nazanin was arrested, as Richard has not been allowed into Iran.
The foreign secretary said: “More than anything, we must see those innocent British-Iranian dual nationals imprisoned in Iran returned to their families in Britain. “I have just heard too many heartbreaking stories from families who have been forced to endure a terrible separation.”
After spending time with Gabriella, Mr Hunt was blocked from visiting Nazanin in prison.
He tweeted: “No child should have to go this long without their mother.”
In response to Mr Hunt’s visit, the family’s local MP, Hampstead and Kilburn’s Tulip Siddiq, tweeted: “My constituent suffers enormously due to the illegal actions of Iran’s judiciary.
“They have used her as diplomatic leverage and it is totally unacceptable. I won’t stop raising Nazanin’s plight in Parliament until she is reunited with Gabriella + Richard for good.”
It is now over 960 days since Nazanin was first jailed.
Earlier this year hopes of her release were raised when she was allowed to leave prison on furlough, but this was curtailed after just three days.