Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is 'anxiously waiting with bags packed', MP says

16 March 2022, 09:27 | Updated: 16 March 2022, 09:33

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Detained Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is "waiting at home (in Iran), anxiously, for a knock on the door, with her bags packed after her passport was returned by Iranian authorities.

Tulip Siddiq said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is "waiting at home (in Iran), anxiously, for a knock on the door, with her bags packed".

The Labour MP told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "I've been speaking to her husband regularly, Richard Ratcliffe, who, as you know, has been fighting a relentless campaign on her behalf. And he said to me that past prisoners from Evin prison in Tehran have gone to a third country, usually maybe to Oman, or to another country, where a prisoner is handed over and then made their way over to whichever the country of origin is, whether it's Britain or Australia or America.

"So, I think he is anticipating his wife will probably be handed over to another country and then will eventually make her way to the UK. What I can't tell you is whether it's going to be tomorrow or the end of the week, or who knows?"

Boris Johnson said talks with Iran over releasing Zaghari-Ratcliffe were "moving forward" but that he could not say more as "negotiations continue to be underway"

Asked by broadcasters at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi whether a UK negotiating team was currently in Tehran, the Prime Minister said: "It is true and it has been for a long time that we're negotiating for the release of our dual nationals in Tehran.

"There are some very sad cases, including Nazanin.

"I really don't think I should say much more, I'm sorry, although things are moving forward.

"I shouldn't really say much more right now just because those negotiations continue to be underway and we're going right up to the wire."

On Tuesday, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's lawyer said he was hopeful there would be good news as London and Tehran engaged in talks about a long-standing £400m debt, which her husband Richard believes is the real reason she was detained.

The aid worker was detained in Iran in April 2016 after taking her young daughter to visit family.

In September that same year she was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of "plotting to topple the Iranian government".

She spent four years in jail and one under house arrest.

Her sentence ended in 2021 but she was then found guilty of propaganda activities against the government.

She has always denied the charges, and her British husband said she was actually imprisoned as "leverage" because of the UK's debt to Iran.