Husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says family looking ahead to ‘new chapter’

Richard Ratcliffe said the journey back to normality will involve ‘baby steps’.

21 March 2022

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said they are looking forward to a “new chapter” as a “normal family” following her release from detention in Iran.

Richard Ratcliffe, who had campaigned for his wife’s freedom since she was detained in 2016, paid tribute to her during a press conference on Monday after what he said was “a long struggle”.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe landed back in Britain on Thursday after the UK finally agreed to settle a £400 million debt dating back to the 1970s.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella with Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, centre, at the Palace of Westminster (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

She was reunited with Richard and seven-year-old daughter Gabriella when she stepped off the plane at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained on April 3 2016 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini Airport after a holiday visit with Gabriella to her parents.

Speaking of her experience, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe told reporters: “It will always haunt me. There is no other way around it. It will be with me.”

She said it is “very difficult” for her to talk about what she has been through.

Mr Ratcliffe thanked everyone for “making us whole again” and said it is “nice to be retiring” from his campaigning.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and husband Richard Ratcliffe (Victoria Jones/PA)

“It’s been a long struggle. I’m immensely, immensely pleased and proud of my wife, and proud to have her home, proud that we start a new chapter, and get to be a normal family again,” he said.

Mr Ratcliffe said it feels like he has spent six years “conspicuously waiting”, adding: “And here we are. So, thank you to everyone who has been part of bringing Nazanin home and making us whole again.”

He said the journey back to normality will involve “baby steps”, adding: “I am super proud of her strength and her survival and her grace.

“I’m so pleased she’s back home, that she came home to us. We’re still negotiating whether daddy’s allowed in the same bed as Gabriella and Nazanin.

“We’ll get there.”

Mr Ratcliffe said: “I think we’ll do this and then we will disappear off and heal a bit.”

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