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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

British-Iranian woman reunited with family after six years' detention in Iran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe touched down in the UK this morning.

BRITISH-IRANIAN CHARITY worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been reunited with her family following her return to Britain after six years’ detention in Iran.

She met her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and their seven-year-old daughter Gabriella at an RAF air base in the early hours of this morning.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released, along with fellow dual-national Anoosheh Ashoori, after Britain finally agreed to settle a £400 million (€477 million) debt dating back to the 1970s.

The two former detainees touched down just after 1am, and a video posted on social media showed Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugging and kissing her daughter while Ashoori’s family sobbed with joy.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained for six years after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

She was detained on security charges by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini airport after a holiday visit to Iran, where she introduced her daughter to her parents.

Ashoori, who was detained in Evin prison for almost five years, was accused of spying. He was arrested in August 2017 while visiting his elderly mother in Tehran.

Both have consistently and vigorously denied the allegations.

The UK’s Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said the negotiations with the regime in Tehran had proved “incredibly difficult”, not least because of the “huge number” of sanctions imposed on Iran.

He said they had taken “every precaution” to ensure the money paid to settle the outstanding debt for an order of British tanks which was never delivered would be used purely for humanitarian purposes.

“We owed this debt, we accepted that debt. Obviously, the sanctions position made it incredibly difficult – you cannot just write a cheque,” he told Sky News.

“The details of how we have done it have to remain confidential, but it has taken a huge amount of work to come up with a method of ensuring that money is for humanitarian purposes and that it conforms to the sanctions regime.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was at the air base to greet them, said they were all in “very, very good spirits”.

“I think it’s been a really difficult 48 hours, the expectation that they would be released, but we weren’t sure right until the last moment,” she said.

“It’s been very emotional, but also a really happy moment for the families, and I’m pleased to say that both Nazanin and Anoosheh are in good spirits and they’re safe and well back here in Britain.”

The release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori follows months of intensive diplomatic negotiations between London and Tehran.

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