Labour MP calls for inquiry into case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Tulip Siddiq, who represents Hampstead and Kilburn, says she owes it to the British-Iranian mother to ask why it took so long to bring her back.

21 March 2022

A Labour MP has called for an inquiry into the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was detained in Iran for nearly six years.

The British-Iranian mother, 43, landed back in Britain on Thursday after the UK finally agreed to settle a £400 million debt dating back to the 1970s.

Speaking in public for the first time since her release at a press conference, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe criticised the Government for time it took to secure her freedom.

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, who also spoke at Monday’s conference, called on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to investigate.

She said she owes it to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe to ask questions about why the debt was not paid for “so long”.

“So, I’ve written to Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, to ask for a review into what happened in Nazanin’s case,” she said.

Ms Siddiq said she will be asking the committee to look at two issues.

One of them relates to a 2013 incident which happened when three Iranian officials came to the UK to negotiate the debt’s repayment, she said.

“They were arrested at Heathrow Airport and then detained in a UK detention centre. I spoke to (ex-foreign secretary) Jack Straw yesterday who said he never got to the bottom of why that happened,” she said.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by their local MP Tulip Siddiq
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by their local MP Tulip Siddiq (Victoria Jones/PA)

“The second thing I’ll be asking the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to look at, if they accept the inquiry, is to look at why there was a deal made last year which then fell through and the money wasn’t paid (then) either.

“And I want to know why the deal fell through, why it took so long to pay the debt, and I also want to look at the wider issue of taking hostages, which Iran has done.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini International Airport on April 3 2016 after a trip to see her parents with her daughter, Gabriella.

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

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