‘Are you really doing all you can?’ Richard quizzes PM on Nazanin
PUBLISHED: 14:30 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 30 January 2020
After meeting Boris Johnson about Nazanin’s case for the first time since he became prime minister, Richard Ratcliffe said he has again pushed for the British government to “do more to solve” the situation.
He told this newspaper after the meeting - which saw Richard, daughter Gabriella and his mum Barbara meet with the Prime Minister and Dominic Raab in 10 Downing Street - he had pushed the politicians to square how continuing to fight payment of the historic debt Britain owes Iran is "doing everything they can" for Nazanin.
It had been a manic week for Richard, who had just returned from a trip to the European Parliament while also met with the UK ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire and sat in on the High Court case which is considering whether the UK is bound to pay interest on its debt to Iran.
Richard told the Ham&High: "It was definitely more caring than I was expecting. Boris Johnson did care. Dominic Raab did care. But they are still waiting. There was nothing tangible that we could work with."
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He added: "They are saying they are working very hard to solve it, but with respect that's not what I'm seeing in court. I just tried to say I didn't think that's quite true. If I look at the court process, it's been about trying to find a way to avoid paying the debt.
"It makes sense in a commercial dispute but it doesn't make sense in a diplomatic sense and it doesn't make sense for us."
Richard, who said Nazanin's health had been stable "for about the last ten days", added: "The other point I pushed was you have a situation where these guys are just sitting holding Nazanin and just waiting. There has to be a cost for that. There's got to be a clear cost if you do bad stuff. You can't just say 'stop doing bad stuff'.
"I don't want them to sit there waiting. I don't think asking nicely works, and in this climate with Iran, it just won't be noticed. If you're the Iranian government, anything less than riots doesn't reach you."
Nazanin has now been held in Iran for almost four years. Daughter Gabriella returned to England last October after being stranded when her mum was arrested, and has now begun school close to her family's West Hampstead home.