View from the street: Strike a deal and free jailed Nazanin, Boris Johnson

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Shelly McKevitt, Irene Bax and I are three retired inner city primary school teachers. Together we have tried to attend and follow every event that there has been for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

We did this to show our support for this amazing family who have been through so much heartache whilst Nazanin has been in an Iranian jail.

On February 21 we were outside the Iranian Embassy in Kensington to join the Amnesty International supporters and her husband Richard Ratcliffe as he tried to hand a letter into the hands of Abbas Araghchi, a senior minister from Iran, requesting the release of his wife.

Sadly, the minister did not come to the door so there was nothing else for Richard to do but to leave the letter on the doorstep in the hope that it would reach Abbas Araghchi’s hands.

We had all hoped the minister would look kindly upon Richard and meet him, but sadly that wasn’t to be.


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The Iranian people are kind and family minded and we were delighted to see three young Iranian students yesterday who came all the way from Birmingham to show their support for the Ratcliffe family and one of the young men, Amir, apologised to Richard for what his government had done to his family.

Richard was delighted that the young students had come to support him and he took the trouble to listen and talk to them.

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We would like to implore that Boris Johnson and the Iranian government get their heads together to come up with a deal that satisfies both sides quickly so neither government loses face.

Nazanin is simply a local mum who is being used as a political pawn whilst her daughter Gabriella is being detained in a country she wasn’t born in and losing her childhood with her family.

As my friend Irene Bax explains, we went to the Iranian embassy to support Richard’s valiant and dignified efforts to get his wife’s release from prison.

She has been in prison for nearly two years. We would hope that the Iranian authorities would show clemency and release her on humanitarian grounds to be reunited with her little daughter and her husband, who have great need of her.

Recently, Richard Radcliffe gave an interview for the Haverstock School journalism project.

Danielle Corgan, a teacher at Haverstock School, told us how the children were struck by Richard’s extraordinary resilience, determination, bravery and his common sense and despite everything keeping his good humour.

The pupils are still determined to find a way, as friends of Gabriella, to help her get her mummy and her daddy back.

On Wednesday I attended yet another support event for Richard and his family. It is now almost two years since they were last together.

In spite of marches, vigils and letter writing the situation has not changed during this time.

Hopes have been raised and dashed.

It was very disappointing last Wednesday that the Iranian deputy foreign Minister would not receive Richard’s letter and the letters and cards for Nazanin.

I hope and pray that our government will negotiate with the Iranians to get Nazanin home.

Nazanin is a charity worker and not a spy.

She needs to be home with Richard and Gabriella NOW.

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