Iran frees British-Iranian aid worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Grant Boone
March 10, 2021

British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, has been held in Iran since 2016, when she was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

But he said the prospect of a second court case was a "dark cloud over her head", six months after she was told of a new indictment.

She has been under house arrest and on furlough from prison since March 2020 and her electronic ankle bracelet was removed as part of her release, Kermani told Etemad newspaper earlier on Sunday.

Antonio Zappulla, chief executive of her employer the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said he had spoken to her as she had coffee in Tehran.

In Iran, the news agency ISNA quoted Hojjat Kermani, who was described as her lawyer, as confirming his client's ankle tag had been removed.

Richard Ratcliffe told Sky News: "We're obviously sitting very anxiously here, and she's sitting anxiously waiting in Iran".

'The judiciary have confirmed on the computer and shown that yes, indeed tomorrow is the last day and she should be released, but the arrangements haven't been clarified'.

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Ms Siddiq tweeted: "I have been in touch with Nazanin's family".

"Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said the foundation was "delighted that her jail term was ended" and that she had told him she was "'ecstatic' to be able to sit in a cafe and have a coffee".

The UK has been locked in a high-profile diplomatic tussle over Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's detention and the UK Government has afforded her diplomatic protection, arguing she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under global law.

Her family, human rights organisations and politicians have demanded her immediate release. It is now unclear when she will be able to leave Iran. Last year, she was released to her parents' home due to coronavirus concerns, but was forced to wear a tracking anklet.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of north London, was arrested at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport while taking her young daughter Gabriella to see her parents in April 2016.

"We welcome the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's ankle tag, but Iran continues to put her and her family through a cruel and an intolerable ordeal", British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a statement following the news.

Local British media have reported throughout the ordeal that Nazanin and her husband believe she is being used as a bargaining chip in Iran's attempts to obtain over £400 million ($553.6 million) in debt the United Kingdom admits it owes Iran but says it can not pay due to sanctions.

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