Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appears in first family selfie as she highlights plight of remaining Iran detainee

Zaghari-Ratcliffe family have been ‘relentless in their pursuit of justice’, says Tulip Siddiq MP

Emily Atkinson
Friday 18 March 2022 02:44
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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: From arrest to release

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has used the first day free from her six-year detention in Iran to raise awareness of another dual national being held in the country, her MP has said.

The British-Iranian aid worker has been captured posing in her first family selfie since landing in the UK in the early hours of Thursday, accompanied by her husband and tireless campaigner, Richard, and their seven-year-old daughter Gabriella.

The image was tweeted earlier by Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who said the pair had been “relentless in their pursuit of justice” as they spoke with her about fellow detainee Morad Tahbaz.

“So lovely to have uplifting conversations with Richard and Nazanin today,” the tweet said.

“They are both relentless in their pursuit of justice and raised the plight of Morad Tahbaz with me. Here I was hoping to sleep for a week… Here’s their first family selfie!”

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and dual national Anoosheh Ashoori smile as they sit in a plane flying over London

It comes after foreign office minister James Cleverly told BBC Breakfast on Thursday that the government was working to secure the return of Mr Tahbaz.

He said: “He also has American nationality, which has in the eyes of the Iranians – not in ours – made his case more complicated.

“We will continue to work to secure his release and, obviously, we work in close coordination with the US on these issues as well.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe touched down at RAF Brize Norton accompanied by fellow British-Iranian detainee Anoosheh Ashoori shortly after 1am on Thursday, bringing her suffering in Tehran to an end.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe gestures after landing at RAF Brize Norton

In a message shared online, the family said: “No place like home. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, to all of the care and campaigning, and diplomatic efforts. You have made us whole.”

Hostage International, which offers support to returning detainees and their families, has warned there is often a “long journey” to normality after being released.

Its chief executive, Lara Symons, said the charity had helped many “trauma hostages”.

“From that experience, we’ve learnt that this is a new journey. This is a long journey,” she told the PA news agency.

A handout picture released by the Free Nazanin campaign group shows Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugging her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella upon her arrival

“I think when people think about normal life, they think about the life that they led before and, sadly, to some extent, that is not possible.

“You can’t go back to that because both you as a hostage and your family have been changed quite a lot by the experience.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ordeal began after she visited Iran in 2016 to celebrate Nowruz (New Year) with family members, only to be detained on her way back to the UK at Imam Khomeini Airport on 3 April that year.

Her daughter Gabriella, then just 22 months old, was left in the care of her maternal grandparents living in Iran, only returning to the UK to be reunited with her father in October 2019.

She was accused by the Iranian authorities of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

Screengrab of a tweet posted by Elika Ashoori of her father Anoosheh Ashoori and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe being reunited with their families at RAF Brize Norton

Mr Ashoori, 67, was arrested in August 2017 while visiting his elderly mother in Tehran. He was detained in Evin prison for almost five years, having been accused of spying.

Both have consistently and vigorously denied the allegations. Their release came after months of intensive diplomatic negotiations between the UK and Iran.

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