London, 02 Apr – After Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson’s continued unsuccessful bids to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband, Richard Ratcliffe called the battle a “test of endurance.”
Two years after her arrest in Iran, he said, “Our story has become a test of endurance, and there is a need to recharge spirits – particularly after the disappointment of the Foreign Secretary’s mission failing to deliver, and Nazanin becoming caught up in this government stand off – so we wanted the anniversary to be an occasion where we drew positive energy.”
British-Iranian dual citizen Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is serving a five-year prison sentence after being convicted of charges of espionage, was arrested at Tehran Airport on April 3, 2016. She continues to deny the charges, saying she was in Iran to introduce her young daughter, Gabriella, to her parents.
Prior to the second anniversary of her detention, Mr. Ratcliffe said, “We didn’t expect to be needing to mark this anniversary – not after the hopes of Christmas and the Foreign Secretary’s word. But it remains a cold late Spring. Nazanin was told that if she wasn’t home by Christmas, at least it should be done by Nowruz, and we should worry if we go past March 2018, with the storms that might lie ahead. And now we have.”
Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP, Tulip Siddiq said, “In November the Foreign Secretary promised to ‘leave no stone unturned’. But since his trip to Tehran, he has been missing in action,” and added, “Nazanin does not have the luxury of time, and Boris Johnson must act before her situation gets worse. If he can’t deliver on this, then it is time that the Prime Minister stepped in.”
The “Free Nazanin” campaign wonder if Mr. Johnson has “given up on his promise to bring home Nazanin soon.” Meanwhile, Ratcliffe and his supporters have requested a meeting with Mr. Johnson, along with their lawyers, as the standoff continues. They wish to discuss what Nazanin’s rights are, in his view.
Recent weeks have been a low point for his wife in Iran, Ratcliffe said, and she has suffered periodic panic attacks in her sleep.
The “Free Nazanin” stated, “Given that Nazanin is held for something the government has not done, not because of something she has, the claim she is just another consular case belittles the government’s obligations.” They plan to hold a ChooseLaughter event in Fortune Green in West Hampstead, north west London, on Monday, where they will display “things that make us smile” provided by supporters and prisoners.
“On the second anniversary of Nazanin’s arrest we continue to approach her case, and all of our British-Iranian consular cases, in a way that we judge is most likely to secure the outcome we all want,” said a Foreign Office spokeswoman, who continued, “Therefore we will not be providing a running commentary on every twist and turn.”