Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband opens up about her temporary jail release

21 April 2020, 21:25

By Fiona Jones

In a remarkably candid interview, Richard Ratcliffe opens up to Iain Dale about the emotion his family felt when Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was given an extension on her temporary release from an Iranian jail.

British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has had her liberty extended by another month in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Nazanin is being held in jail in Tehran after being convicted of spying in 2016, which she has consistently denied.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, who has long campaigned to the government for her release, told Iain that Nazanin is really happy today and has experienced a whirlwind of emotions.

"Coming out of prison she was euphoric," he said, and has enjoyed spending the time catching up on life, talking to her friends and her little girl.

He told Iain that in the two weeks leading up to this extension, the Iranian authorities had kept adding a delay of a day, leading her to feel nervous, until this was finally confirmed.

Iain referred to the speculation on her initial release that this may be a permanent decision by Iran and coronavirus could provide them an opportunity to "save face" and let her return to Britain.

Richard Ratcliffe and his daughter Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Richard Ratcliffe and his daughter Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Picture: PA

"It hasn't happened yet is how I like to put it," Richard said, "if things are going to open out and she's going to come home it was always going to be in baby steps. So hopefully this is baby steps to freedom.

"I think after four years I sit here pretty twitchy and skeptical because we've had various promises that haven't been kept before, so we look quite closely at what the government knows, we look like closely at what we see happening and certainly I'm planning for the worst," he said.

Nazanin and Richard's little girl came over from Iran in October where she had been cared for by her grandparents since Nazanin's arrest. Both Richard and his daughter were able to video call Nazanin while in lockdown.

He told Iain that his daughter came back traumatised and he had to deal with that while bonding with her, as she had gone to Iran a baby.

He said she had a lot of volatile emotion when in lockdown as she had gotten used to seeing her English friends and her new life here, which he was sure was similar of other children.

She does like being able to speak to Nazanin whenever she wants and is disappointed with something he has asked her to do!

Iain hoped, as always, that he sees Nazanin and Richard walk back through his studio door one day.