Publish: 17 Mar 2022, 03:43 pm
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her family after arriving back in the UK || Photo: Collected
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the
British-Iranian aid worker who has been held in Iran for almost six years, has
arrived back in the United Kingdom after being released from detention.
Early Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a tweet that Zaghari-Ratcliffe and fellow British Iranian national Anoosheh Ashoori "have landed safely in the UK and are reunited with their families and loved ones."
"Welcome home," she said.
Emotional photos posted on social media by Truss, Amnesty International UK, and the FreeNazanin campaign group which pushed for her release, show Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugging her daughter Gabriella and husband Richard Ratcliffe upon her arrival at the RAF Brize Norton airbase in Oxfordshire.
Images also show Ashoori being reunited with his family.
The former prisoners were flown from Iran on a Royal Air Force plane, which landed in the UK just after 1:00 a.m local time Thursday.
Their release was hailed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as "huge achievements" for British diplomacy. "I pay tribute to the tireless efforts of those who have worked for six years to make today's events possible," Johnson wrote in a tweet.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe's local UK Member of Parliament Tulip Siddiq tweeted a photo of her on board a plane Wednesday as she made her way home.
"It's been 6 long years -- and I can't believe I can FINALLY share this photo," wrote Siddiq. "Nazanin is now in the air flying away from 6 years of hell in Iran."
Ashoori's family said in a statement on Twitter, "1673 days ago our family's foundations were rocked when our father and husband was unjustly detained and taken away from us. Now, we can look forward to rebuilding those same foundations with our cornerstone back in place."
Ashoori was held in Iran for five years after he was arrested by Iranian intelligence agents in Tehran in 2017. He was convicted of spying for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency and sentenced to prison for 12 years, Iran state news agency IRNA reported.
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