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Free Nazanin: ‘No breakthrough’ says Richard after meeting with PM Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED: 14:11 23 January 2020

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, his daughter Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe and his mother Barbara, arrive in Downing Street. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, his daughter Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe and his mother Barbara, arrive in Downing Street. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Richard Ratcliffe said there was “no breakthrough” with regard to Nazanin’s case during a Downing Street meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss efforts to free her from Iranian prison.

Richard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella en route to meet the Prime Minister. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA WireRichard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella en route to meet the Prime Minister. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Richard and their five-year-old daughter Gabriella met the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to discuss her imprisonment in Tehran, which continues after nearly four years.

Nazanin is serving a five-year sentence over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government, having been arrested in 2016 during a holiday visit to show her then baby daughter Gabriella to her parents.

Any optimism over Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's chances of freedom has been dampened by the soaring tensions with Iran provoked by the US killing of its top general, Qassem Soleimani.

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But her husband's latest step in his long-running campaign came with the meeting in No 10 with the PM, who he has criticised for his handling of the charity worker's case, potentially worsening her plight.

Clutching his daughter's hand, Richard told reporters: "In truth, no breakthrough," when exiting the meeting.

Richard said he urged the PM to be "brave" in his dealings with Iran, and said he was convinced Mr Johnson is "personally committed" about her situation though he did not apologise for his past mistakes.

But the father added: "Sympathy isn't enough to get us out of this."

He said a "gap" remains between his sense that the Government must be "tough with Iran".

"I don't think I have come away thinking Nazanin is coming out tomorrow or even next week, and I will think carefully about what I tell her on the phone on Saturday about where the hope is to come," Richard added.

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