‘Empty stomachs and empty hearts’: UK must do more to get Nazanin released, husband says
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 11/11/2021
The British government is not doing enough to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband has said.
Richard Ratcliffe is on hunger strike outside the Foreign Office where he met officials after they hosted Iran’s deputy foreign minister
He told Sky News he had misgivings about the presence of Ali Bagheri Kani inside the government building.
“I certainly want him to be here to shame him,” he said.
“Whenever an Iranian minister comes to the UK they should be ashamed of holding British citizens hostage and the British government should be mindful of the fact that it is in some ways immoral to be hosting hostage takers.”
Mr Ratcliffe’s wife Nazanin was seized while on holiday in Iran and jailed for allegedly trying to topple its government. She faces being sent back to jail on more trumped-up charges.
He told Sky News his meeting with foreign office minister James Cleverly had been depressing and left him without hope.
“If someone is acting in bad faith and they’re taking someone for leverage the question is: ‘Are you moving forward on those issues and what are you doing to discourage them from keeping on playing games?’.
“Well we heard nothing on one and we heard nothing on the other. So we stand here with empty stomachs and empty hearts.”
Most infuriating for Mr Ratcliffe and his lawyer were officials’ efforts to deflect questions about a £400m debt owed to Iran by the UK for tanks ordered but not delivered before the Iranian revolution.
An international court has ordered that the money be paid, the prime minister and the defence secretary are thought to favour its payment, and Iranians say its payment would accelerate Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.
The British government has denied there is a connection between the two issues, despite Iran’s insistence on one being contingent on the other.
It remains a mystery quite why the money remains unpaid.
Mr Ratcliffe’s mother Barbara told Sky News the government should do more to help her daughter-in-law.
“How far are they going to let my son get ill and when we’ve got so much support?”
© Sky News 2020