Nazanin: Bravely Outspoken or Entitled & Selfish?editor
From TCW Defending Freedom…
First, some facts. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was born in Iran. She lived there until she was 28, during which time she was employed by the World Health Organisation, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Japan International Co-operation Agency.
She moved to the UK in 2007 to undertake a Master’s degree at London Metropolitan University. Having completed her degree, she worked for various British charities in London, including the Centre for Public Innovation, BBC Media Action and the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF).
A legal opinion prepared in 2017 by Professor John Dugard and Tatyana Eatwell, of Doughty Street Chambers, and Alison Macdonald QC, of Matrix Chambers, claimed that her work for the TRF involved ‘managing journalism training abroad (not in Iran); managing TRF’s partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and other members of the Westminster Consortium, including the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), on a project aimed at strengthening the parliaments of other States, at those States’ invitation.
‘Such States included Lebanon; fundraising for and managing FCO-funded projects in Morocco, Jordan and the Turks and Caicos Islands.’
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is clearly very bright, ambitious and well-connected. She met her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, in November 2007. They got engaged in June 2009 and married at Winchester Register Office in August 2009.
She became a British citizen in March 2013, though she remains a citizen of Iran. She would make regular trips to Iran to visit her parents. During one such trip, on April 3, 2016, she was arrested and detained by the Revolutionary Guard at Tehran airport on security grounds.
Iran does not recognise anybody with dual nationality – a fact Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe knew, because she entered the country of her birth using her Iranian passport, in keeping with Iranian law.
Presumably she knew the risk she was taking by going there. She also knew her status immediately made Britain’s negotiating position extremely challenging: Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, the British government, which has not enjoyed strong relations with Iran in recent years, was in no position to dictate terms to Iran over the release of a person whom the Iranian regime considered to be one of its own.
I am surprised that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe did not acknowledge this more clearly yesterday. She has spent most of her life in Iran, after all, rather than in Britain…
Lastly, I am struck by how well Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe looks. Indeed, while her husband appears pale and drained, she seems on the surface to be in pretty good health, perfectly strong and capable. This is to be welcomed, of course, but the contrast between her and her husband is noteworthy nonetheless.
This episode sits uneasily with me. Something about it is not right. Certainly, it seems that we British are not being told something about this case, even while that £400million debt is repaid via public funds.
I am certain that we will never learn the full truth of this matter and that no amount of inquiry by the Foreign Affairs select committee will bring us the truth.
All I do know is that in years gone by, other hostages have been freed under very different circumstances and have not complained publicly about why it took so long within days of returning to Britain.
Indeed, I know someone who was imprisoned by a dictatorship on trumped-up charges in the 1980s and held for longer than Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was. When he was eventually released, he never said a word against the British government. He was just glad to be home. Click here to read the rest of this article.
I didn’t have time to watch the entire press conference but I saw some of it live, including the clip at the top of this page. I thought I was hearing things – I could not believe that anyone in her situation could be so ungrateful. Her husband has worked tirelessly for her release and so to hear her saying “I love you, Richard, but…” Goodness me. I wish them well; I hope they make their next wedding anniversary, if not the Golden Jubilee. Watching the ten minutes or so that I watched of this press conference, my uppermost thought was this is what truly fallen human nature looks like. Only God’s grace can save us from ourselves. But, never mind what I thought… Watching the above clip, and reading the TCW extract, what did you think?
Is there any advice, whether straight from the pages of the Gospels, or from the writings of great saints, that might help to prevent us from thinking “me, me, me” above all else?