The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike for a second time in two years.
He’s hoping to push the Tory government out of its current “couldn’t care less” attitude and into renewed efforts to bring her home.
Here’s the story:
Richard Ratcliffe will sleep in a tent outside the Foreign Office in London after his wife lost her latest appeal in Iran last week.
He said the UK government’s strategy was “broken”, adding: “It does feel like a policy of waiting and we can’t wait forever.
“I had a conversation with the British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, to ask her what she was going to do and she still said, well we are going to talk to the Iranians and there will be consequences if Nazanin goes back. That’s too late.
“Hunger strike is an extreme act and it’s always a bit precarious at the beginning,” he told Sky News.
He continued: “I have to say, I thought that would be a unique experience and that when the prime minister came into office he would resolve our case and keep his word.”
Mr Ratcliffe’s Labour MP, Tulip Siddiq, tweeted in his support – with similarly harsh criticism of the Conservative government:
My heart breaks to write this, but once again my constituent Richard Ratcliffe has been forced to go on hunger strike because of the Government's inaction and failure to #FreeNazanin.
It should never have come to this. pic.twitter.com/j1VnJFosKP
— Tulip Siddiq (@TulipSiddiq) October 24, 2021
This Site has been covering Nazanin’s story since Boris Johnson’s initial – disastrous – intervention and it is well worth covering the saga of Tory government ineptitude that has progressed since then:
The case was brought to the UK’s Foreign Secretary – at the time, Boris Johnson – in November 2017. And the first thing he did was make the situation worse.
He said Nazanin had been arrested because she had been “teaching journalism”. In fact, that was the reason for her arrest – a reason that she denies (the Iranian authorities related it to activism against the state).
He later tried to claim that his words had not been clear and he had meant even if she had been teaching journalism, that would not have justified her arrest. But this was not true – one of many lies he has spoken on his way to the top.
The Iranian authorities said they would use Johnson’s words against Nazanin, but he refused to apologise for worsening the situation.
Next it was rumoured that Johnson was going to pay Iran £450 million owed to that country but unpaid due to international sanctions, in return for Nazanin’s freedom…
Then it was said that he had put the brakes on that scheme for fear of upsetting US President Trump.
Nazanin went on hunger strike. While she starved, Johnson (now prime minister) was working on his suntan, on the billionaires’ playground island of Mustique.
She appeared in court on March 14 this year, on a new charge of propaganda against the regime – apparently based on allegations that she took part in a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London 12 years ago and gave an interview to the BBC Persian service.
She was later sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.
Mr Ratcliffe now believes that Nazanin is a pawn in negotiations over the £400 million+ owed by the UK to Iran. The current issue seems to be about interest payable on the debt. Johnson doesn’t want to pay the figure demanded by Iran, one expects.
This Writer’s opinion is that Johnson doesn’t care what happens to Nazanin – he’d rather keep the cash. That’s a very odd way to behave, when one considers all the money he has splashed around to Tory donors and friends during the Covid-19 crisis.
But then, this is a man who (allegedly) said of Covid, “Let the bodies pile up in their thousands” – and they have. And now he is inflicting cholera on us all by allowing foreign-owned privatised water firms to dump raw sewage in our rivers.
With a prime minister responsible for that scale of barbarity, how could anybody expect him to lift a finger for one dual-nationality woman?
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