Richard Ratcliffe: Nazanin's temporary release is 'light at the end of the tunnel'

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said her temporary release from prison will be "devastating" if it does not lead to her eventual release - but he is hoping developments signalled "light at the end of the tunnel".

Richard Ratcliffe, 45, said the family were overjoyed by the decision of the Iranian jail to allow Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe to spend the next two weeks in relative isolation at her parents' house in Tehran while the country gets to grips with the coronavirus.

Mr Ratcliffe, from north London, said the couple's daughter Gabriella has already spoken to her mother via Skype since the release, showing her the dolls in her room and her "big girl's bed".

The five-and-a-half-year-old, who returned to the UK last autumn having spent more than three years living with her grandparents in Iran, has become upset that her mother has not been able to return home to the UK.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

She was very excited when she realised we were going to speak to mummy.

Richard Ratcliffe
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife has to wear an ankle tag and can only go within a 300-metre range of her parents' home, before her intended return to prison in a fortnight.

But he said the temporary release has given them hope that her eventual return to the UK is one step closer.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was previously granted a short-term release in 2018 - and was left "devastated" when she was summoned back three days later.

I think she's not thinking about going back to prison at all.

Richard Ratcliffe