‘First ripple of freedom’ for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Iran

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, during his meeting with Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani,  in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, during his meeting with Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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The husband of imprisoned Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has hailed the “first ripple of freedom”, as a new court case against his wife was postponed.

Richard Ratcliffe said the move came in the wake of Boris Johnson’s two-day visit to Iran, where the Foreign Secretary has been seeking her release.

He said his family have spent the weekend “watching closely with hope”, as Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she could now “see some light”.

Yesterday Mr Johnson held talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, where they “both spoke forthrightly”, and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday which were “frank and constructive”.

“I said I thought that if the Foreign Secretary had a good Saturday, we might have a good Sunday, with a court case postponed,” Mr Ratcliffe said. “And so it has come to pass. Today is one of the good days in the past 20 months.

“This weekend we had our first ripple of freedom, with the postponement of Nazanin’s new court case.

“Of course, who knows what lies ahead, the past 20 months have had plenty of false turns – but my hope is that the ripple in the days ahead might become a full change of tide.

“My hope today is as Nazanin once wrote: Freedom feels one day closer, that Christmas dream remains.”

Mr Ratcliffe said just a month ago he was “cursing” Mr Johnson, but said that “to date he has been as good as his word”.

He added: “He did get to Iran, he did get there before her court case and that did make a difference.

“Of course, one swallow doesn’t make a Christmas – Nazanin is not yet on a plane. But it is good to have at least a swallow in the sky.”

The mother-of-one was arrested in 2016 during a holiday visit to show her baby daughter Gabriella to her parents. She is serving a five-year sentence over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she could “see some light today, more than before.

“The court, the imprisonment emerged all of a sudden out of the blue, so I hope it can disappear out of the blue also – if there is enough will.”

She said there had been two or three times before when she felt like she might be getting close to freedom but had ultimately been disappointed.