Zaghari-Ratcliffe: new hopes aid worker will be freed in Iran

Zaghari-Ratcliffe: new hopes aid worker will be freed in Iran
By Seamus Kearney

Husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says he is cautious but optimistic about news from lawyers in Tehran

There may be positive news for Christmas for the family of a British-Iranian charity worker jailed in Tehran.

Lawyers of Nazarin Zaghari-Ratcliffe say she has now been listed by officials as "eligible for release", a change from an earlier status of being what they called a "closed case".

The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently brought up the case with the Iranian president during a visit to Tehran.

Nazanin's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, says he is optimistic but cautious about the latest news.

"This is definitely a positive step. I am probably a bit cautious as to see just how positive," he said.

"Nazanin was yesterday visited by her lawyer and her lawyer said that on the data base, the sort of electronic case management system that they have at judiciary, it now marks her case as being eligible for release. 

"Before it said she was a closed case, and that's happened in the last couple of days, so that's just terrific news." 

He added: "I guess also there's not yet been a sort of confirmation to her from the prosecutor, so what she got told was there is still some paperwork to finalise.

"So hopefully by Christmas. But Christmas isn't very far away at all. But it is definitely good news, and fingers crossed now."

Rallies continue to be held calling for the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who denies charges of plotting against Iran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year jail term after being arrested during a holiday with her toddler daughter to visit family in 2016.

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