Daughter of Brit held in Iran after sentence ends pleads ‘let mummy come home’

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe today staged a protest outside the Iranian embassy in London demanding she is released immediately and allowed to return back to Britain.

Richard Ratcliffe was accompanied by the couple’s six-year-old daughter Gabriella and other supporters.

The small group of protesters held placards carrying the messages “Free Nazanin” and “still not forgotten”.

Mr Ratcliffe put his arm around his daughter as they both held a placard featuring a photo of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Gabriella used a pen to cross off the final day in a calendar that counted the days until “Mummy comes back home” and read out messages of support for her mother.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, had her ankle bracelet removed over the weekend in Tehran, where she had been allowed to see out her sentence at home because of Covid-19 but has to return to court next week to face further potential charges.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “It is still the Iranian authorities that are holding Nazanin. They are now holding her even after the end of her sentence. That remains outrageous.”

He said he spoke to his wife this morning and explained that she had been able to see her sister and grandmother and visit the family of another British citizen being held in Iran.

He said: “Freedom definitely felt one step closer.”

Mr Ratcliffe admitted he was “quite cautious and guarded” but said he had spoken to other people who had been through his wife’s experience and they said it “reminds them of their last few days”.

“Let’s hope they’re right,” he added.

“I wanted to do something just to say listen she’s not forgotten.

“We’re still going to keep battling until she’s home.”

And he said he would be speaking to the UK Government on what it can do in terms of attending her next trial and visiting his wife, as well as “what is going to stop Iran from holding innocent British citizens hostage”.

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

Mr Ratcliffe called it a “watershed” moment, saying: “If you’d asked me when we first started campaigning with Amnesty to bring Nazanin home that five years later we’d still be knocking on the door of the Iranian embassy, still waiting for them to ever open it and explain what’s going on, then I would have been horrified.”

He earlier said he was “grateful” for the “strong words” of Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who condemned the “cruel and intolerable” treatment of his wife and called for her swift return to the UK.

His wife was arrested in 2016 and convicted of spying charges – which she has always vehemently denied.