Online Editions

26th Jun, 2022

They're home! - Nazanin and Anoosheh reunited with families after years in Iran

Rob George 17th Mar, 2022

BRITISH-Iranian nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori have arrived home after years of detention in Iran.

Both were met by their families at RAF Brize Norton in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) after being released by Iran on Wednesday (March 16).

43-year-old Nazanin was arrested in 2016 and accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government

Mr Ashoori, a retired civil engineer, was detained in 2017 on spying charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Both have consistently and vigorously denied the allegations

Nazanin’s husband Richard had led tireless efforts to campaign for her release, including going on hunger strike last October.

In emotional scenes, both he and their daughter Gabriella were there to welcome Nazanin home and Mr Ashoori’s daughter Elika spoke of her happiness at her father’s return.

A £400million debt relating to a cancelled order for 1,500 Chieftain tanks dating back to the 1970s had been linked to the continued detention of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other UK-Iranian dual nationals held in the country – although the government has said the two issues should not be linked.

The Government has however settled the debt owed amid fresh hopes for a reset in relations between Tehran and the west.

Editor’s Comment: 

THIS morning, a little girl has her mummy back. 

While we grown-ups can debate the pros and cons of the negotiations to bring Nazanin and Anoosheh home, Gabriella can wake each and every morning and see her mum, a gift no child should be without. 

I’m sure I wasn’t alone yesterday in feeling rather emotional at the news and a sense of pride that finally Nazanin and Anoosheh were free. 

I wish them and their families every happiness as they return to the normal life they richly deserve. 

May this signal the end of using people as bargaining chips and let us all strive for a world where diplomacy wins the day in the end. 

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