Richard Ratcliffe: Wife was ‘explicitly threatened’ over safety if she did not ‘spy’ for Iran

Richard Ratcliffe: Wife was ‘explicitly threatened’ over safety if she did not ‘spy’

Richard Ratcliffe has suggested that his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, had been made an offer to 'spy for Iran'.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said that she was threatened that it “would not be safe” if she did not agree to "spy" for the Iranians, as she begins a hunger strike in a prison in Iran.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has imprisoned in 2016 and has begun a hunger strike on Monday in the hopes of receiving medical treatment for her lumps in her breasts and numbness in her limbs.

Richard Ratcliffe suggested that over Christmas members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard had offered her freedom if she became a spy.  

Mr Ratcliffe told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “That was her final tipping point, with the build up to Christmas and then her reaching 1000 days in detention.

“Their response was if she wanted to come out then she would have to agree to spying.

“She was told that if she did that, then it would be safe for her and safe for her family.

“It was a fairly explicit threat that it would not be safe if she did not agree, that is not unique to many political prisoners but goodness me, it is terrifying.”

He added: “I understand why people would want to say anything to get out of prison in that situation but I think we have had enough pressure on her that when this ends we want it to be as clean as possible.”


'Enough is enough'

Mr Ratcliffe described his wife’s decision to go on hunger strike as her way of showing “enough is enough”.

“It has been a tough few weeks and her deciding to go on hunger strike and the build up to that has been very stressful,” he said.

“Now she has started it, we will just have to see how things go.”

He added: “A hunger strike is her way of showing that enough is enough and it cannot go on. In terms of what it will achieve – hopefully the authorities will grant her medical treatment.”

Mr Ratcliffe also suggested that the UK needed to be tougher with Iranian authorities.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt dummoned the Iranian ambassador on Monday over Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's imprisonment. 

“The long tension I have had with the Government is that they should probably be tougher," he said. 

“To be fair to the Foreign Secretary he has been a lot clearer in public and in private as we have seen.

“We had a list of demands that we put in front of the Government, some of which have been done and some of which haven’t.

“The one we held yesterday was to grant Nazanin diplomatic protection. That essentially makes all that happens to her a formal dispute between the UK. He did not quite do that yesterday.”