'I'll do everything I can': Jeremy Hunt makes promise to Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe's family
PUBLISHED: 14:18 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 03 August 2018
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed he "will do everything" to bring Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home.
This came after he held an “open and positive” meeting with Nazanin’s family and promised to make a decision on whether to grant Nazanin diplomatic protection soon.
Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe met Jeremy Hunt, along with his mother Barbara Ratcliffe and uncle Geoffrey Dive. The family had been keen to meet with the foreign secretary since his appointment last month, replacing Boris Johnson.
Johnson resigned before he was able to make a decision on diplomatic protection, leaving Nazanin’s family concerned that any resolution to her case would be further delayed.
Richard Ratcliffe told the Ham&High: “I’d say we walked out of the meeting more positive than when we walked in. Having a new foreign secretary is a chance for a fresh start too.
“He said Nazanin was his priority, he wasn’t cagey, and he seemed sincere in his promise.”
Richard added: “He was also straight with us, also about his concerns. He encouraged his staff to be the same. It felt like a positive start. On diplomatic protection, we await the Foreign Secretary’s decision soon.”
The meeting came weeks after the Iranian judiciary reaffirmed they were waiting for Britain to settle an historic debt before freeing Nazanin, however her family said in this meeting Jeremy Hunt denied the debt is connected to Nazanin’s case, but confirmed resolving that issue was a priority.
Nazanin’s spirits remain low, and she has been referred to a neurologist once again. Richard told this newspaper: “She’s very up and down, sometimes being reminded of the profound unfairness of the case knocks her, or seeing the scale of the distress and confusion that it causes Gabriella.”
The foreign secretary tweeted: “Good to meet Richard Ratcliffe and his family yesterday. It’s a shocking and desperate situation and they are showing extraordinary strength and resilience, as is Nazanin. We will do everything we can to bring her home.”
Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said the meeting should be a springboard to bring Nazanin Home. She said: “The foreign secretary’s pledge over trying to secure Nazanin’s release is very welcome, as is the fact he’s had a face-to-face meeting with Richard relatively early into his new job.
“We’d now like to see the UK Government at all levels pushing hard for Nazanin’s release. This has gone on far too long.”