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Richard Ratcliffe: ‘My happily ever after dream is to have a cup of tea on the sofa with Nazanin’

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The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said his vision of “happily ever after” for his family is to go “back to normal”.

Richard Ratcliffe has been on hunger strike for twenty days outside the Foreign Office in Westminster to protest the Government’s failure to take sufficient action to bring his wife home from Iran,

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since 2016 on charges which she has always denied relating to plotting against the Iranian government.

READ MORE:Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband ‘deflated’ after meeting with foreign office minister as he vows to continue his hunger strike beyond day 19

In October, she lost her latest appeal against her sentence, prompting her husband to take up his hunger strike on October 24.

Speaking to MyLondon today, Ratcliffe, from Hampstead, North London, expressed his wish for his family life to go “back to normal” when his wife is eventually allowed to leave Iran and revealed what his wife had dreamt of during her time in prison.

He said: “[My happily ever after] is going back to being normal.

“And for us, for Nazanin, that will mean sitting on our sofa, having a cup of tea.

“That’s what she used to dream about when she was in solitary confinement.”

He continued: “It is pottering around the neighbourhood, going to the park, picking up from the school gate, and all the things that normal families do.”



Richard Ratcliffe pictured yesterday on the 19th day of his hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in Westminster
Richard Ratcliffe pictured yesterday on the 19th day of his hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in Westminster

Expressing his belief that his vision will come true, he said: “It will come, and it’s obviously been a trauma to get through, but I look forward to the day we are back to not being on the telly.”

Ratcliffe said he dealt with the trauma of his wife’s separation “one day at a time”, but kept going by thinking of what life would be like when his wife returned.

He said: “Like everyone deals with all their struggles, it’s one day at a time.

“So I take it one day at a time.”

Referencing his hunger strike and the length of time Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained, he continued: “Today is day twenty but it’s also day 2,015.

“We’ll see how much longer we need to keep going, and my job is to keep going and have that normal life ready for when Nazanin comes back.”

Ratcliffe’s comments come as he accused the Government of “contempt” following a meeting with a junior Minister in the Foreign Office, James Cleverly.



Richard Ratcliffe with his MP Tulip Siddiq make their way to a meeting with Minister for the Middle East James Cleverly at the Foreign Office yesterday
Richard Ratcliffe with his MP Tulip Siddiq make their way to a meeting with Minister for the Middle East James Cleverly at the Foreign Office yesterday

Ministers from the Foreign Office met with the Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Bagheri Kani on Wednesday this week, before Cleverly met with Ratcliffe to update him on what had been discussed.

According to Ratcliffe, Cleverly, who is Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa, did not “give away very much at all”, apart from reassuring him that Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case had been raised.

Branding the meeting a “placebo” meeting, Ratcliffe expressed the sentiment that he felt the meeting had been held for the sake of appearances, without actually providing him with any information.

He said: “[They] are holding the meeting so [they] can say they’ve updated me, but they haven’t updated me.

“[They’ve] told us nothing.

“Yeah, there’s a kind of contempt in that.”



Painted pebbles mark every day that Richard Ratcliffe has been on hunger strike since October 24
Painted pebbles mark every day that Richard Ratcliffe has been on hunger strike since October 24

Ratcliffe, who has drunk water, herbal tea and black coffee for the past twenty days said that despite concerns from his family, he was unsure when he would stop his hunger strike.

Stating he was taking each day as it came however, he confirmed that his hunger strike was in its “last days”.

Over the last couple of weeks, Ratcliffe has received visits from politicians and notable faces, including Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer, Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy and Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman.



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A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said: “The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Bagheri Kani visited the FCDO today (11 November) to meet senior government officials and Minister Cleverly.

“FCDO representatives reiterated that Iran should take the opportunity to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) deal on the table now.

“The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister was also pressed on the need for Iran to urgently release all British nationals unfairly detained in Iran, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Anoosheh Ashoori and Morad Tahbaz.

“Minister Cleverly met Richard Ratcliffe again today to reaffirm our commitment to reuniting his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, with her family in the UK.

“The Foreign Secretary, Minister Cleverly and the FCDO continue to work hard to secure the release of all those British nationals unfairly detained in Iran.”

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