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"It Would be Great to Have Nazanin Home for Christmas"

December 10, 2017
Natasha Schmidt
2 min read
"It Would be Great to Have Nazanin Home for Christmas"

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson arrived in Tehran on Saturday, December 9 to urge officials to release British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. 

On Sunday, December 10,  Zaghari-Ratcliffe was scheduled to appear in court on new charges. Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said the family very much hoped that Johnson’s visit would postpone the hearing. 

Johnson met with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. In a statement, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office described the meeting as “constructive” and said there had been a “frank exchange.” 

“We have hoped for him to meet with as many important people who can make a difference in her case,” Richard Ratcliffe told IranWire on Saturday evening. ”We hope he will make it clear to as many people as possible that it would be great if she could be home for Christmas.” In addition to meeting with Zarif, Johnson met with the influential Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani and officials from the National Security Council. “Ideally he will also meet with someone from the judiciary,” Ratcliffe said, “though this wasn’t confirmed today.” 

The foreign secretary’s trip to Tehran follows increased pressure for him to raise Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case with Iranian officials. He also raised the case of 78-year-old Kamal Foroughi, who has been in jail in Iran for over six years. 

The UK Foreign Office also said Johnson would discuss future business opportunities with Iranian officials, Britain’s commitment to the nuclear deal, and regional issues including Yemen and Syria.  

“She’s due in court tomorrow [December 10],” said Richard 

Ratcliffe. “As things stand, her lawyer has not been approved to attend the court, so it was feeling pretty precarious.”  He said Johnson being in Tehran pushing for her release at the time the trial was due to take place could potentially have a positive outcome. Whether the court case goes ahead or not would say a lot about what might be expected in the coming weeks regarding Nazanin’s case, he said. 

Iranian officials gave no specific reason for her lawyer not being approved to represent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in court, although it is customary for lawyers representing political prisoners or people held on security-related charges to be omitted from the judiciary-approved list of lawyers that can appear in court. 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spoke to her husband on the phone on Saturday, and she told him she had seen her psychiatrist that day. He said she was sounded calmer than she had in recent weeks. “She felt calmer and was more positive because the foreign secretary was there and hoping that that could lead to something.” 

Richard Ratcliffe said Johnson was due to give him a de-briefing on the Tehran meetings on Monday or Tuesday. 

Iranian TV also reported on the foreign secretary’s visit, and the fact that he had raised Zaghari-Ratlcliffe’s and Kamal Foroughi’s cases with officials.









New Snow, Hello!

December 8, 2017
New Snow, Hello!