Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘relentless in pursuit of justice’ for remaining detainee – MP

The mother-of-one was pictured in a smiling selfie among the daffodils with her husband and daughter on her first day back in the UK.

PA Reporters
Thursday 17 March 2022 19:33 GMT
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived back in the UK in the early hours of Thursday (Leon Neal/PA)
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived back in the UK in the early hours of Thursday (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)

Freed mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has used her first day back in the UK with family to raise the plight of another dual national who remains in Iran.

The 43-year-old was pictured smiling with her husband Richard and their daughter Gabriella, 7, among the daffodils in what their local MP termed their “first family selfie” since her release after six years in detention.

Tweeting the picture, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq said the reunited couple were both “relentless in their pursuit of justice” as they spoke with her about Morad Tahbaz, who has not been allowed to leave Iran after being released from prison on furlough.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker, landed back on British soil in the early hours of Thursday, along with fellow dual national, Anoosheh Ashoori, after the UK finally agreed to settle a £400 million debt dating back to the 1970s.

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said the Government was working to secure the return of Mr Tahbaz, telling BBC Breakfast: “He also has American nationality, which has in the eyes of the Iranians – not in ours – made his case more complicated.”

He added: “We will continue to work to secure his release and, obviously, we work in close co-ordination with the US on these issues as well.”

In a tweet on Thursday evening, Ms Siddiq said: “So lovely to have uplifting conversations with Richard and Nazanin today.

“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! #NazaninIsFree.”

One charity worker with experience of hostages has warned there is usually a “long journey” back to normality following release.

Lara Symons, chief executive of Hostage International, said hostages were changed by their experiences (Screengrab/PA)
Lara Symons, chief executive of Hostage International, said hostages were changed by their experiences (Screengrab/PA) (PA Wire)

Lara Symons, 53, chief executive of charity Hostage International, said the organisation had helped many “trauma hostages”.

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

“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.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained on security charges in 2016 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini airport after a holiday visit to Iran, where she introduced her daughter to her parents.

She was accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

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 London and Tehran.

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