Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is ‘still in harm’s way’ husband Richard Ratcliffe warns

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband warned on Monday she was “still in harm’s way” as he appealed to the Iranian authorities to grant her freedom.

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was “happy” and had been visiting relatives after her ankle tag was removed on Sunday following the completion of her near five-year sentence in Iran.

However, the mother-of-one has been ordered to appear before an Iranian court in a week’s time to face new charges and her lawyer told her to prepare herself for a conviction.

Mr Ratcliffe spoke to the Standard before a planned protest outside the Iranian embassy with their six-year-old daughter.

He said although it was possible his wife could be sent back to prison, it would feel “out of kilter with the mood music”.

“It’s about the jeopardy and the threat rather than following it through.

“Fundamentally there is an abusiveness even today which is in the midst of good news you still get bad news.

“You have this incessant uncertainty to mess with your head. It’s a real manipulative control game.

“She is still in harm’s way. I don’t think we should depict too graphically which particular harm might happen because there is a number of them that might happen.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband RichardPA Wire
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband RichardPA Wire

It comes after Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, completed her sentence over allegations – which she strongly denies – of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

The new charges – long threatened by authorities – relate to claims Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was involved in propaganda activity against the Islamic Republic including attending a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London in 2009 and speaking to BBC Persian.

Mr Ratcliffe made the comments as he prepared to stage a protest outside the Iranian embassy with his six-year-old daughter Gabriella and his wife’s brother Mohamed.

He was delivering a 60,000-signature Amnesty International petition to the embassy calling for his wife’s immediate release.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Iran to release her “permanently”, adding her “continued confinement remains totally unacceptable”.

Former top diplomat at the Foreign Office Sir Simon McDonald told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “We are in the end game. The Iranian system is behaving in a typical way. Nazanin has completed her sentence. Something good happened yesterday with the removal of the ankle tag. But the final moves have still to take place. This case is still not ended.”

Asked if he thought she might be coming home soon, he replied: “I hope she is and yesterday was a very good day but…this is not over until Nazanin is back in the UK.”

It has been said that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been used as a political pawn over a long-standing debt running into hundreds of millions of pounds over the non-delivery of tanks in 1979. The shipment was stopped due to the Islamic revolution.

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