Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘waiting for news’ on her return to prison

A British-Iranian mother temporarily released from prison in Iran due to the coronavirus outbreak does not yet know when she will have to return to complete her sentence.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had originally been released for two weeks with an ankle tag, but now, on the eve of her scheduled return, Iran is still in the grip of the pandemic.

Iran is though to has be one of the hardest-hit countries in the Middle East.

The Iranian government claims there have been fewer than 5,000 deaths in total, but pandemic modellers based in the US estimate that as of March 20, more than 15,000 had lost their lives.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe told the PA Media news agency: “We are waiting on news tomorrow.

“Her lawyer will go to the Prosecutor’s office to check whether she needs to return to prison or it has been extended.”

When she was first released, Mr Ratcliffe said: “My feelings today have been all of a mix – pleased at the happiness for Nazanin and (their daughter) Gabriella, but fear this is a new drawn out game of chess.”

He added: “The issue now is to make it permanent and bring Nazanin home. It is one feeling to walk out of prison.

“It is completely different to walk back in. No-one should be asked to go and be a hostage again. So we are watching carefully.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport while travelling to show her young daughter, Gabriella, to her parents in April 2016.

She was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government.

She has been afforded diplomatic protection by the UK Government, which states that she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under international law.