I'll be haunted forever by six-year Iranian prison hell, says emotional Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

NAZANIN Zaghari-Ratcliffe will be "haunted" forever by her six-year Iranian hell, she said today opening up for the first time.

Speaking in Parliament after finally being released, the mum was ecstatic to be home but said: "This should have happened six years ago."

At an emotional press conference with husband Richard she was reluctant to relive her torturous solitary confinement in the Tehran jail.

But she said: "It will always haunt me, there's no way around it, it will be with me, it will never leave you alone."

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe landed back in Britain last Thursday after six painful years as Iran's prisoner on ridiculous spying charges.

She said easing back into family life "was very tough" and was desperate to make up for the lost time away from her husband and daughter Gabriella.

The mum said: "Coming back to a daughter who is nearly eight -I left her when she was not even two.

"There was a whole lot of catching up to do with Richard and Gabriella and getting to know them better."

Richard joked at the press conference: "We're still negotiating whether daddy's allowed in the same bed as Gabriella and Nazanin."

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Richard, who has tireless campaigned for his wife's freedom, thanked Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for negotiating her release.

But – while "grateful" to her "amazing husband" and everyone who helped get her free – Nazanin vented frustration at not being released earlier and refused to thank the Foreign Secretary.

She said: "I have seen five foreign secretaries change over the course of six years. I was told many, many times that 'oh, we're gonna get you home'. That never happened.

"So there was a time that I felt like 'do you know what I might not I'm not able to trust you' – because I've been told many many times that I'm gonna be taken home but that never happened.

"How many foreign secretaries does it take… What's happened now should have happened six years ago?"

Aid worker Nazanin, 44, was arrested in 2016 after a holiday visit with Gabriella and convicted of plotting to overthrow the government.

She was thrown in jail for five years and served another year under house arrest.

Since returning the Hampstead mum-of-one has eased back into family life by making pizzas with Gabriella.

The family has been staying at Dorneywood, Rishi Sunak's Buckinghamshire sprawling grace-and-favour mansion.

She was free after Britain settled a £400million debt owed to Iran after cancelling an order of tanks in the 1970s.

Iran, which is heavily sanctioned for human rights violations, must spend the money on humanitarian purposes as part of the deal.

Another British-Iranian national Anoosheh Ashoori, a retired civil engineer, was also freed as part of the deal.

But a third, 66-year-old Morad Tahbaz from Hammersmith, has been put back under house arrest after being temporarily let out.

His sister, Tahrane Tahbaz, this morning told BBC Radio 4 that he was taken back into prison after just 48 hours.

She said: "We haven't heard from him since and we have heard through a relative just a few hours ago that he's been taken from the prison and he's been taken to an undisclosed location and that he's gone on hunger strike."

A FCDO spokesperson said they are working to get Mr Tahbaz, who has cancer, to return home to the UK.

A timeline of Nazanin’s six years of hell

April 3 2016: Nazanin is detained at Tehran airport after a holiday visit to show Gabriella to her parents.

July 12 2016: Richard Ratcliffe goes to Downing St to press PM Theresa May on his wife's 100th day in office.

September 9 2016: Nazanin is jailed for five years following for plotting to overthrow the government.

April 24 2017: Nazanin loses her appeal.

November 6 2017: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrongly says Nazanin was "training journalists" when she was arrested. Iran weaponises his comments to claim she was spreading anti-regime propaganda.

November 15 2017: Richard says Nazanin has seen a medical specialist and is "on the verge of a nervous breakdown".

August 23 2018: Nazanin is given temporary release from jail for three days.

December 29: Nazanin marks her 1,000th day in prison.

March 28 2020: She is given temporary prison release but placed under house arrest.

March 7 2021: Her sentence is due to end – but she suddenly faces a new conviction.

April 26 2021: She is given an extra one year in jail.

November 17 2021: Boris Johnson considers sending a "crate of cash" to settle the £400million debt.

March 15 2022: Iran hands back her passport and a talks for her release intensify

March 16 2022: Nazanin is finally freed and heads to Tehran airport

March 17 2022 Nazanin touches down at RAF Brize Norton and is reunited with Richard and Gabriella

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