''Everybody has the right to be free,' says freed West Hampstead mum
- Credit: PA
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is looking forward to returning to her community in West Hampstead and getting to know fellow parents at the school gates.
The 43-year-old is returning to the home she shared with husband Richard and daughter Gabriella until her freedom was snatched from her while on holiday to see her parents in Iran in 2016.
Nazanin told a press conference at Portcullis House on Monday (March 21) that the family was planning on staying in West Hampstead and not moving out of the capital.
"The school run is something I'm looking forward to because I want to get to know her friends and meet them, " she said.
Nazanin left the UK on March 17, 2016 and returned, exactly six years to the day six years later.
She was detained on April 3, 2016 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini airport and felt “powerless” in the notoriously tough Evin Prison.
She landed back in Britain on Thursday after the UK finally agreed to settle a £400million debt dating back to the 1970s.
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She criticised the Government for the length of time it took to secure her release.
Referencing Richard thanking the Government a few moments earlier, she said: “I do not really agree with him on that level.”
Nazanin said she had seen five foreign secretaries over the course of six years, adding: “That is unprecedented given the politics of the UK. I love you Richard, respect whatever you believe, but I was told many, many times that: ‘Oh we’re going to get you home.’
“That never happened.”
She said she would find it difficult to trust in them, adding: “I mean, how many foreign secretaries does it take for someone to come home? Five?
Asked if she feels angry with the Government that it took so long to get her home, she said: “I think the answer is clear. I cannot be happier than this that I’m here.
“But also, what happened now should have happened six years ago.”
She said she had a "black hole" in her heart but she would "leave that black hole on the plane".
"I'm not going to live my life with a grudge.
"It has been cruel what happened to me. This moment is so glorious."
Nazanin said it was "very difficult" to talk about her experiences saying only that they will "haunt" her, adding she will be "very cautious" about returning to see her parents.
She paid tribute to her "amazing, wonderful husband" and "patient" daughter.
She said it how was lovely to "catch up with her daughter and braid her hair"
"She's upgraded mummy and downgraded daddy," she added.
She urged an end to the detention of other dual nationals still held in Iran, saying without their release “the meaning of freedom is never going to be complete”.
She highlighted the continued detention of British-US national and wildlife conservationist Morad Tahbaz, who has family in Hampstead.
"Everybody has the right to be free."
Richard said he was "retiring from campaigning" and focusing on "precious recovery" of his family saying they were taking "baby steps".
He thanked "everybody" who had supported his campaign.
Asked for his view on hostage taking he said it was "a challenge for the government to deal with staged hostage taking."
"There are no easy answers It. It takes a village, I'm just lucky to get Nazanin home."
Tulip Siddiq MP paid tribute to her constituents.
She said: "Richard is known for his relentless campaigning, Nazanin is known for her immense strength in the face of huge adversity and little Gabriella, sitting in the front, is known to be a brave soul. They are a family who never lost hope."