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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: 'I can't take it anymore' as new trial delayed
13 September 2020, 17:02 | Updated: 13 September 2020, 20:57
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said she "really can't take it any more" after a second court case against her in Iran was postponed at short notice with no explanation and no future date set.
The 42-year-old British-Iranian dual national has been detained in Iran since 2016 when she was sentenced to five years in prison on syping charges, which she denies.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was expecting to be tried on Sunday on charges of "spreading propaganda against the regime".
Iranian state TV had reported she was facing a new charge, and the Ratcliffe family’s local MP Tulip Siddiq said the mother-of-one told her she appeared in court on Tuesday ahead of a trial this weekend.
But Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was not taken to the Revolutionary Court on Sunday and the case against her has been postponed.
The Foreign Office said: "We welcome the deferral of this groundless court hearing and call on Iran to make Nazanin's release permanent so that she can return to her family in the UK."
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe told her husband on Sunday morning: "People should not underestimate the level of stress. People tell me to calm down. You don't understand what it is like. Nothing is calm."
She added: "And this morning I just wanted to scream out loud for 10 minutes or to bang my head against the wall - just to let it out.
"I really can't take it any more. They have all these games and I have no power in them. Sometimes I am just full of anger ready to explode.
“I find myself hating everything in this life, including myself. There is no escape."
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released from prison in March as Iran sought to stop a rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak seeding in jails, and has since been living with family in Tehran under house arrest.
Mr Ratcliffe said neither his wife nor her lawyer were given any explanation about why or when the trial might be rescheduled.
He said: "It is too early to say what the postponement means, except that this remains a game of cat and mouse between governments, with us living life as a piece of bait.
"For Nazanin, the uncertainty remains deeply traumatic as we await the next move. As we do so, the importance of the government's diplomatic protection grows."
Amnesty International UK accused Iranian authorities of "playing cruel political games" with Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and called on the UK Government to make it an "absolute priority" to get her home for Christmas.
It has been claimed Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held to force the UK to settle on a debt dating back to the 1970s when the then-shah of Iran paid the UK £400 million for 1,500 Chieftain tanks.
After he was toppled in 1979, the UK refused to deliver the tanks to the new Islamic republic and kept the money, despite British courts accepting it should be repaid.