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Free Nazanin: Richard Ratcliffe slams Boris Johnson as he and Nazanin mark day 5 of hunger strike

PUBLISHED: 12:59 19 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:12 24 June 2019

Richard Ratcliffe outside of the Iranian Embassy at the end of day four of his and Nazanin's hunger strike. Picture: Sam Volpe

Richard Ratcliffe outside of the Iranian Embassy at the end of day four of his and Nazanin's hunger strike. Picture: Sam Volpe

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and husband Richard have are both now on the fifth day of their hunger strike in protest at her continuing imprisonment in Iran.

Supporters join Richard Ratcliffe outside of the Iranian Embassy. Picture: Linda GroveSupporters join Richard Ratcliffe outside of the Iranian Embassy. Picture: Linda Grove

Richard has been fasting and camped outside the Iranian Embassy in Knightsbridge since Saturday in solidarity with Nazanin, who is also refusing food in Evin prison in Tehran.

Richard also told the BBC today that, contrary to remarks made by Boris Johnson on television, "of course [Mr Johnson's actions in 2017] had consequences".

The front-runner to become the next prime minister erroneously said Nazanin had been training journalists while in Iran, and this has been used against her. She was actually on holiday.

On Tuesday evening Richard told this newspaper: "I'm coping - slowing down, but not hungry."

Richard Ratcliffe wakes up outside of the Iranian Embassy during his hunger strike. Picture: Linda GroveRichard Ratcliffe wakes up outside of the Iranian Embassy during his hunger strike. Picture: Linda Grove

The strike is expected to continue until at least Saturday when the family and campaigners are holding a rally to attempt to force politicians both in the UK and Tehran to engage and to release Nazanin.

Richard added: "I'm perhaps feeling a bit more gung-ho than Nazanin at this point."

He spoke to Nazanin this morning (Wed) to check in on her health.

Richard has demanded three things: Nazanin's immediate release; for there to be an immediate visit to Nazanin by the British Embassy to check on her health; and, if no release is granted to her in the next few weeks, a visa for him to go to Iran.

Tributes to Nazanin outside where Richard is camping at the Iranian Embassy. Picture: Sam VolpeTributes to Nazanin outside where Richard is camping at the Iranian Embassy. Picture: Sam Volpe

Nazanin herself has only one demand: unconditional release.

On Boris' comments, Richard added to the BBC: "The main difference they had was, obviously, they enabled a propaganda campaign that was run against Nazanin."

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On Saturday, Richard marked the beginning of his strike by holding a birthday celebration for the couple's daughter Gabriella, who has been stranded in Iran with grandparents since Nazanin was arrested in April 2016.

The Iranian embassy move barriers to irriate Richard Ratcliffe during his hunger strike. Picture: Linda GroveThe Iranian embassy move barriers to irriate Richard Ratcliffe during his hunger strike. Picture: Linda Grove

She turned five on June 11.

So far, Richard said there has been very little movement from Tehran, although he thought the disruption to his protest by workers at the embassy itself had been ordered from Tehran. The authorities have this week used metal barriers to inch his makeshift campsite closer to the road.

They've also been repainting railings and pressure washing the pavement to disrupt him.

The Iranian Ambassador to the UK appeared on CNN on Monday. He said he was "very sorry" that Nazanin was in jail but repeated that it was a matter for the Iranian judiciary and there was nothing he could do.

Nazanin has gone on hunger strike twice before - once before her arrest was made public and then in January this year - but Richard has not.

He said: "I think Nazanin's worried about me. In some ways it's 'we're stronger together', and in some ways she's very worried."

On Saturday, his plan is to paint stones at midday - with campaigners and supporters invited to return to the embassy to show their support.

Richard has welcomed visitors during his strike - with Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq and British-Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi among those to attend.

Daren Nair, an Amnesty UK activist, camped out with Richard on Saturday and has returned to the embassy every day.

He told this newspaper: "At the moment he's bearing up well, better than everyone expected. He's been really strong. We're trying to get more politicians to come down."

Richard explained he would also like the candidates for leader of the Conservative Party to visit.

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