Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s five-year-old daughter returns to UK after years spent visiting mother in Iranian jail

Family decides to send daughter home to start school in London

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband says he 'resented' Boris Johnson over handling of case

The five-year-old daughter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has returned to the UK after more than three-and-a-half years in Iran.

Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been living with her grandparents in Tehran and visiting her mother at least once a week in the notorious Evin Prison since Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested on spying charges in 2016.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who denies the charges against her, decided to send her daughter back to the UK to start school in London.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been campaigning for his wife's release from prison.

“Gabriella came back to us late at night, a bit uncertain seeing those she only remembered from the phone,” Mr Ratcliffe said in a statement on Gabriella’s return.

"Now she is peacefully sleeping next to me. And I am just watching.

"It has been a long journey to have her home, with bumps right until the end - and I am grateful to all those at the British Embassy and Iranian MFA who helped smooth all those last blockages.”

He added: "Of course the job is not yet done until Nazanin is home. It was a hard goodbye for Nazanin and all her family. But let us hope this homecoming unlocks another."

As Gabriella first travelled to Iran when she was 22 months old, the family said her ability to speak English had diminished and she would have to relearn the language.

Tulip Siddiq, their local MP, said the family were forced to make a decision “that no family should have to make.”

“It is heart-warming to see Gabriella reunited with her father after 1,300 days in Iran, but heartbreaking that she is separated from her mother, Nazanin,” she said.

Ms Siddiq, who is the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, has called for Iran to release Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and accused the government of failing her.

When Boris Johnson was foreign secretary in 2017, he was accused of endangering Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe by saying she was “simply teaching people journalism” in Iran.

However, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said she was on holiday when she was arrested and was in Iran to visit her family for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year festival.

In an open letter released last week to announce Gabriella’s return home, she wrote: “I am a desolate mother ready to burn like a desert dune when her baby leaves, unable to see any light in this tunnel without end.

“I have no hope or motivation after my baby goes. There is no measure to my pain.”

Agencies contributed to this report

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