Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'on cusp of good news’ over clemency decision in Iran, says husband

Naomi Ackerman

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband has said the family are “on the cusp of potentially good news” as his wife could receive a decision on clemency in Iran tomorrow.

The British-Iranian mother-of-one was freed from the notorious Evin prison on March 17 as part of the Iranian response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her temporary release from Evin jail was further extended last week pending a decision on whether to pardon her - and Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe could now be hours away from receiving a decision, according Richard Ratcliffe.

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain today, Mr Ratcliffe said: "We are on the cusp of potentially good news,

"On the weekend, the supreme leader of Iran announced there was going to be over 3,000 people being pardoned because of Eid at the end of Ramadan.

The mother was freed from the notorious Evin prison on March 17 as part of the Iranian response to the coronavirus pandemic (PA)

"Nazanin's lawyer was being brought down in front of the prosecutor's office tomorrow to get a decision on her clemency. So she could be on that list, we don't know yet."

The West Hampstead-based accountant said legally his wife should be on the list "because she meets all the criteria", adding that the family is “guarded, but hopeful".

However, Mr Ratcliffe is not convinced the family will hear a decision tomorrow - or that the Iranian government will grant clemency, as they have been disappointed many times in recent months.

He explained: "I think there is a possibility we will find out on Wednesday, there's a chance we will find out in the next couple of weeks, and if it doesn't happen in the next couple of weeks we should presume it hasn't happened.

"Part of me needs to keep preparing me for when it all falls apart and she is put back in prison and we need to keep negotiating."

On the program, Mr Ratcliffe also spoke of the positive times the couple’s daughter Gabriella, five, has been having with Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe over Skype while she has been on furlough from prison.

He said mother and daughter have been playing dolls on video call.

He said: “For her [Gabriella] the disruption has been mitigated by having Nazanin on the phone and playing dolls with her on Skype.”

Mr Ratcliffe also renewed his call for the Government to ensure his wife is returned to the UK.

Gabriella Ratcliffe with her mother on previous respite period from prison (PA)

He has asked to go and visit his wife, and said he is ready to “keep battling and keep pushing” for her release.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport while taking her young daughter to see her parents in April 2016.

She was sentenced to five years in prison, accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, which she denies.

She was later afforded diplomatic protection by the UK Government, which argues that she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under international law.