Husband wants answers on UK-Iranian jailed in Tehran

Husband wants answers on UK-Iranian jailed in Tehran
Richard Ratcliffe, whose wife was arrested in Tehran in 2016, said the family are still awaiting news of her return to the UK.
2 min read
11 March, 2018
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 [Getty]
The husband of a British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran demanded urgent updates from the Foreign Office in London about what was holding up her return to the UK.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, said there had been positive signs from the Iranian authorities but the family did not know when she might be coming home.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation - the media organisation's philanthropic arm - was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016.

She is serving a five-year jail sentence for alleged sedition - charges she has always denied.

"We've been getting better messages from the Iranian side, from the judiciary and the prosecutor's office in Iran," Richard Ratcliffe told Sky News television.

"This week the head of prison said, 'Oh yes, I've approved her release, I approved it a number of months ago'. So there's been clearly things to hold on to, hopefully.

"Part of the aspiration of today's message to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is I would like to meet to ask what's the blockage? What's going on?”

The Foreign Office did not comment on Ratcliffe's reported updates but a spokeswoman told AFP: "We will continue to approach each case in a way that we judge is most likely to secure the outcome we all want.

"Therefore we will not be providing a running commentary on every twist and turn.”

The case has become highly politicised, especially after a careless blunder by Johnson in December in which he stated that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran - something the Thomson Reuters Foundation and her family have strongly denied. This has been used by the Iranian authorities to help justify the new charges and may contribute to her potentially lengthened sentence.

An online petition for her release has collected almost 1.5 million signatures.