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Nazanin Zaghari Returns to the UK after Serving 5 Years Prison in Iran

Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe the British-Iranian citizen who served a prison sentence in Iran has finally returned to the United Kingdom. Zaghari arrived at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire via a government-chartered plane that reportedly took off from Oman. She was accompanied by another British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori who was imprisoned in Iran for spying charges. At the airport, Nazanin then met her family members consisting of her daughter Gabriella Ratcliffe and husband Richard Ratcliffe in an emotional reunion.

Elika Ashoori the daughter of Anoosheh Ashoori shared the reunion picture of both the families on Twitter.

Why Nazanin Zaghari Was Detained in Iran?

44 years old Tehran born Nazanin who worked in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and World Health Organization had moved to the UK for higher studies in 2003. She married her husband Richard Radcliffe in 2009 and became a British citizen in 2013. It was in April 2016, when Iranian Revolutionary Guard detained her at Imam Khomeini airport. Zaghari was in Iran along with her two years old daughter to visit her family on the eve of Nouroz. After serving almost six years of detention she was finally released on March 16.

Nazanin who worked as a Project manager for Thomson Reuters was found guilty of running propaganda against the Iranian government for which she served a one-year prison sentence from March 14 to March 16. However, Zaghari’s husband held that her wife was detained to leverage an old Iranian debt with the UK government that dated back to a tank deal in 1979. In May 2021 Iranian media reported about the UK agreeing to settle the debt in return for prisoners. The British government reportedly responded that negotiations related to tank deal debt were separate from the prisoners in Iran.

Why Was Anoosheh Ashoori Prisoned?

Ashoori who is a British Iranian engineer and businessman is also released along with Nazanin Zaghari. He was arrested in August 2017 on charges of spying for Mossad (Israeli Spying Agency) and owning illegitimate wealth. Anoosheh has denied these accusations against him. Both Ashoori and Zarghari have been freed due to campaigning on behalf of their families and human rights organizations along with diplomatic efforts. According to James Landale, diplomatic correspondent of BBC, the answer to why British-Iranian citizens have been released is that “London-Tehran relations are better than they have been”.

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