Visit from baby daughter gives hope to West Hampstead mother held in Iran

Nazanin and Richard Ratcliffe with daughter Gabriella

Nazanin and Richard Ratcliffe with daughter Gabriella - Credit: Archant

A West Hampstead mother who has been held in solitary confinement for 40 days in Iran has finally been reunited with her baby daughter for the first time since she was seized at Tehran airport on April 3.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, who lives in Fortune Green Road, confirmed his wife Nazanin was finally allowed a visit from family yesterday.

He said: “Nazanin was able to meet with Gabriella, and with her mother and father. The family and Nazanin were transported separately to meet in a nice hotel in Kerman, where they had lunch together.

“The family and Nazanin were transported separately to meet in a nice hotel in Kerman, where they had lunch together, and she was able to hold and play with Gabriella for a visit of more than 2 hours. Gabriella was given a doll by the authorities.

Accountant Mr Ratcliffe, 41, launched a petition, which now has 155,000 signatures, calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene to bring his wife and baby daughter home.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, was seized by security services at Tehran’s main airport with Gabriella, 22 months, as they were returning to the UK after visiting relatives.

Husband Richard Ratcliffe, 41, says daughter Gabriella has had her British passport confiscated and is stranded in Iran with her grandparents.

Nazanin has been held without charge in the Kerman region and unable to see her daughter or family until yesterday.

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Mr Ratcliffe said: “Notwithstanding everything else, I am grateful to the Iranian authorities that they allowed Nazanin to see Gabriella in a nice place.

“I am grateful to you all for giving them over 100,000 reasons to do so, and for the difference that made to a day in Nazanin’s confinement.

Charity worker Nazanin is an active member of the Hampstead Mums Facebook group,

In an interview with the Ham&High Mr Ratcliffe described how creating the petition and seeing the level of support has given him a focus to get through the days without his family.

He said: “The reaction has been fantastic. It is overwhelming. Nazanin is a very social person and will be finding life in confinement away from Gabriella and her family terrible.

Nazanin works as a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, based in Canary Wharf, which delivers charitable projects around the world but does not work in Iran.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “At first when Nazanin was taken and we didn’t know where she was it was pure fear. Now we know she is alive and safe. The petition has given me something positive to do to fight for her return.

“The whole situation is outrageous.

“It is hard to understand how a young mother and her small child on holiday could be considered an issue of national security. She has been to Iran to visit her family regularly since making Britain her home.”