Husband of British-Iranian prisoner makes second anniversary plea

Richard Ratcliffe (right), husband of jailed British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, delivers a petition and a letter addressed to the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi to demand her release, at the Iranian Embassy in London on
Richard Ratcliffe (right), husband of jailed British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, delivers a petition and a letter addressed to the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi to demand her release, at the Iranian Embassy in London on Feb 21, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran, on Monday (April 2) accused Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of "not doing enough" to secure her release and urged Prime Minister Theresa May to act.

Speaking ahead of the second anniversary of her arrest on Tuesday (April 3), Richard Ratcliffe said: "Nazanin is still in prison, so in simple terms, the foreign secretary has not done enough.

"The prime minister is more important, and just as we were pushing to meet the foreign secretary, at some point, if that is not enough, we have to push up another level and that's the prime minister," he added.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation - the media organisation's philanthropic arm - was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016.

She is serving a five-year jail sentence for alleged sedition - charges she has always denied.

The couple's young daughter, Gabriella, was in Iran with her mother at the time of her detention and has remained there in the care of relatives.

Ratcliffe insisted that "the ball is absolutely in the (British) government's court".

He added that the head of the prison where his wife is being held had told her "I approved your release many months ago".

Ratcliffe believes her release is being held up by a battle over interest that Britain owes over a historic arms deal that went sour following the Iranian revolution of 1979.