Andrew Marr: Nazanin's release and hope of Ukraine peace are two rays of sunshine

16 March 2022, 18:06 | Updated: 16 March 2022, 18:12

Andrew Marr reacts to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's imminent return

By Will Taylor

Rays of sunshine have beamed through the dark clouds of recent weeks, Andrew Marr believes, now news of a Ukraine peace plan and the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has emerged.

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She is finally flying to the UK after being held for six years in Iran, while reports of a 15-point peace plan suggest the proposal could see the violence in Russia's invasion stop – and Moscow's forces potentially withdrawing.

"It's been an absolutely foul day at Westminster but only weather-wise. For the first time since I've joined LBC I can sit here and actually bring you some genuinely good news," said Andrew in his monologue on Tonight with Andrew Marr.

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"I'm pinching myself because we have not one but two really good news stories in a single spring evening.

"As I guess you must all know by now Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is coming home safe after six long years of imprisonment and psychological torture in Iran.

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"So is Anoosheh Ashoori, though you've probably heard less about him. But it also seems as if Ukraine and Russia are really coming closer to a peace deal: tonight the Financial Times is reporting a 15 point peace plan which would include a ceasefire and Russian withdrawal if Ukraine rules out joining NATO and accept limits on its armed forces.

"Could this horror really be coming to an end?"

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is flying to the UK after Britain handed over a £400m payment it owed Iran dating back to a tank deal agreed with the pre-Islamic revolution government.

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It had refused to stump up the money due to sanctions, and Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's detention was widely viewed as Tehran trying to leverage her release in exchange for the money.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times said a 15-point plan could be in the works, as negotiators from Ukraine and Russia consider a proposal for Kyiv to swear off joining Nato and not hosting foreign military personnel, while being offered "protection" from countries like the UK, US and Turkey.

Andrew concluded: "It's been a dull day of low clouds and greasy, persistent rain; but the mood? The mood, my friends, could hardly be sunnier."