Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian who has been detained in Iran since 2016, has been released and is returning home, the UK Foreign Secretary has said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a charity worker who faced spurious charges by Iran of “plotting to topple the Iranian government,” will return to the UK to her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and her six-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who she has been separated from since her imprisonment.
Anousheh Ashouri, another British-Iranian national who was jailed in 2019 accused of spying for Israel, has also been released, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss confirmed.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP, Tulip Siddiq said on Twitter: “Nazanin is at the airport in Tehran and on her way home. I came into politics to make a difference, and right now I’m feeling like I have.”
Earlier this week, lawyers announced that Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, had been given her passport back as talks took place about her return to the UK.
Speaking from Abu Dhabi, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that negotiations "continue to be under way and we're going right up to the wire".
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment is believed to relate to a decades-old debt the UK owes to Iran from the 1970s after it failed to deliver an order of Chieftain tanks before the Shah was toppled.
The issue of why the UK hasn’t paid £400 million debt is shrouded in mystery – so much so that it wasn’t until 2020 that the UK government even acknowledged it.
Earlier this week, Truss referenced the debt before the news of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release broke, telling Sky News this week, “We've also made it a priority to pay the debt that we owe to Iran.”