Just one day after Britain’s Foreign Office released a statement indicating it would be prepared to release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on bail if she could prove she is not harming Iranian authorities, she was put back in jail.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she was about to return to London from a visit with her parents. Iran accused her of plotting to overthrow the government — a charge denied by her family — and she was initially sentenced to five years in prison.
In July, British and Iranian officials agreed on a bail payment of 1 million pounds, or about $1.56 million, so she could be released from Tehran’s Evin prison pending an appeal of her sentence.
On Tuesday, however, Britain and Iran’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that they had not been able to reach an agreement over Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case.
“We remain strongly committed to securing the return of Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe to Britain. We do not believe that her conviction for a crime she did not commit should stand,” a Foreign Office statement said.
“We are very disappointed to learn that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s appeal has been rejected. We shall now consider our legal options and consult with her family.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told the BBC that the family will now be flying to Tehran for more negotiations with the Iranian government, which has rejected his wife’s original appeal of her five-year sentence.
“We are certainly hoping that this will lead to her being freed. This is obviously an encouraging result,” Ratcliffe said.
During her arrest, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 35, was held separately from her husband. During her appeals, Ratcliffe only briefly met his wife.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.
On Tuesday, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, told BBC Radio 4: “We will continue to offer her all the consular assistance that she would expect.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case was one of several, including the release of a British-Iranian businessman sentenced to 10 years in prison by Iranian authorities and the release of five other British-Iranian prisoners, that Iran’s Supreme Court has rejected.
In November, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s appeal was rejected by Iran’s revolutionary court, which handed down a preliminary, but final, sentence against her. She has been in prison since then.