The husband of a British woman detained on trumped-up spying charges in Iran has slammed the Foreign Office after being told to keep quiet on her case.
Richard Ratcliffe is angry after UK officials passed on threats from Tehran, warning that his wife Nazanin’s elderly parents could be harmed if he did not stop criticising the regime.
Now he fears the mother-of-one will not be released when her five-year jail term comes to an end in March.
He said: ‘This is as good as an example you are going to get when they [the Foreign Office] are facilitating threats to the family from the regime.
‘You are the Government, your job is to protect people. The only reason why she is in prison is because of your debt in the first place. We were all shocked.’
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, was detained in April 2016 during a visit to see family in Tehran and subsequently jailed for spying – charges she has consistently denied.
Jailed British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella in 2017. Mr Ratcliffe believes his wife has been kept as a ‘hostage’ by the Iranians to force the British government to pay back a £400million debt
She was held in the notorious Evin jail for four years, where political prisoners are usually tortured, but is currently under house arrest at her parents’ home after Covid swept through the overcrowded cells.
Her husband believes she has been kept as a ‘hostage’ by the Iranians to force the British government to pay back £400million the regime claim is owed from a 1970s military contract that was not honoured.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been travelling with her daughter Gabriella, now six, (pictured together during a temporary release in 2018) who was cared for by relatives in Iran until eventually coming home to her father in 2019
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and has so far refused to pay the sum.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been travelling with her daughter Gabriella, now six, who was cared for by relatives in Iran until eventually coming home to her father in 2019.
The charity worker’s younger brother Mohammed has also fled Iran for London following fears for his safety.
Earlier this month when news of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imminent release emerged, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that negotiations between Britain and Iran had ‘intensified,’ and the Government ‘was leaving no stone unturned.’
Now, Mr Ratcliffe fears that the Iranians will charge his wife again with a second offence of ‘spreading false propaganda about Iran’, which they have been threatening with since November.
Mr Ratcliffe fears that the Iranians will charge his wife again with a second offence of ‘spreading false propaganda about Iran’
A FCDO spokesman said: ‘The Foreign Secretary and FCDO remain in close contact with both Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family, and continue to provide our support.
‘We do not accept Iran detaining dual British nationals as diplomatic leverage.
‘The regime must end its arbitrary detention of all dual British nationals.
‘We continue to do everything we can to secure the release of all dual British nationals so that they can be reunited with their loved ones.’
This post was first published on DailyMail.