Imprisoned British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has ended her hunger strike after 15 days in an Iran jail, prompting her husband Richard to end his own hunger strike outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
Richard told the Today program his wife had eaten some porridge with an apple and banana. He said: “It was getting hard for me, but I am sure it was much harder for her. I am relieved because I wouldn’t have wanted her to push it much longer.”
The couple began their hunger strike more than two weeks ago following the birthday of their daughter Gabriella. The five-year-old has not been allowed to leave Iran following her mother’s arrest in 2016 on spying charges and now lives with her grandparents.
Her husband told the BBC the last few days had been a real struggle for Nazanin, and she had been under significant pressure from the guards to end her hunger strike. He said: “She will go to the prison clinic as soon as possible to do a blood test, but it is not open today.”I am fragile but broadly I have got through it.
“My experience has been sitting on a doorstep with people coming up with flowers and cards and messages of support, so it’s been emotionally great although physically challenging.”
Richard said: “We have certainly got the Iranian diplomats cross. Perhaps everyone is crosser than I was expecting.”In the early days they were building a fence to block us off, and trolling us on social media and with various articles saying I was breaking the Vienna convention.
“But part of the aim was to bring the problem to their doorstep, so I am glad that happened.”More than a hundred MPs, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt visited Richard outside the embassy.
He said that Mr. Corbyn had offered to liaise with the Iranian ambassador to see what could be done to free Nazanin. Richard said: “I will follow up with him next week once I have had a meal and been to A and E and had a health check.”
Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-born Iranian was arrested on April 3, 2016, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport as she prepared to board a plane with Gabriella back to the UK after visiting relatives. The 40-year-old is serving a five-year sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt granted Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection in March, but Tehran refused to acknowledge her dual nationality. She first went on hunger strike in January for three days, in protest at the decision of prison authorities to deny her access to medical treatment.