'Incredible' photo captures the moment Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunites with her family

'Incredible' photo captures the moment Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunites with her family
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's daughter runs to hug her mother in airport reunion
Sky News

After years of detention in Iran, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been freed and a photo has captured the heartwarming moment she was reunited with her family in the UK.

The British-Iranian had been detained in Iran in 2016 for the past six years, accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and in April last year was sentenced to an additional year in prison as well as a year-long travel ban on new charges of "propaganda against the system." She has consistently denied these charges.

After months of negotiations between the UK and Iranian government, Nazanin and Anoosheh Ashoori - another British-Iranian detainee held on alleged spying charges - were released and flew out of Teran on Wednesday.

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In the photo, a smiley Nazanin can be seen holding her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella as she embraced her husband Richard Ratcliffe as he kissed her forehead when the family was reunited.

Throughout the six years, Richard had been tirelessly campaigning for Nazanin to be released and went on a 21-day hunger strike last year to fight for his wife's freedom.

Nazanin and Anoosheh were released after the UK settled a debt to Iran of almost £400m dating from the 1970s, when Iran ordered British tanks and armoured vehicles. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, the UK cancelled the order and Iran demanded its money back for undelivered vehicles.

Social media reacted to the touching image of Nazanin's family which went viral:

Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq shared the photo of the family of three who are her constituents and expressed her delight at their reunion.

"The moment Richard, Nazanin and Gabriella finally reunited after 6 long years. This picture makes me so happy and so proud of all 3 of my brave constituents. Thank you everyone for your constant support for this incredible family," she tweeted.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer shared the photo as "joyous scenes" and also praised Siddiq's work in helping the family reconcile "through a great combination of private advocacy and public campaigning work."

Deputy Labour leader, Angela Rayner praised the photo: "What an incredible, beautiful image of a family, finally reunited," and also echoed the praise of Siddiq.

The photo has since received thousands of supportive messages from people who are thrilled at Nazanin being released and welcoming her home.

Rebecca Ratcliffe, Nazanin’s sister-in-law told Good Morning Britain that Nazanin, Richard, and Gabriella, went to a safe house along with Ashoori and his family.

"... and Gabriella slept in between Richard and Nazanin last night for the first time in six years, so a very special moment," she said.

Rebecca also told the programme that Richard has messaged her this morning but "everyone else is still asleep."

"I imagine they're all pretty tired but he was certainly very buoyant this morning.

"He just said that he'd had a busy day, a busy night, they got to sleep not long ago but it was lovely to be with his family again. But also interestingly he pointed out today's the 17th March and six years ago on 17th March Nazanin flew out so there's a certain amount of symmetry in his story."

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