Former Tory MEP causes uproar after calling Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'ungrateful'

Former Tory MEP causes uproar after calling Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'ungrateful'
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says her release 'should have happened six years ago'

A former Tory MP has sparked fury across social media following his comments about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, which prompted others to call her 'ungrateful.'

On Thursday, the British-Iranian mother, 43, landed back in Britain after being detained in Iran for six years. The UK finally agreed to settle a £400 million debt dating back to the 1970s.

Speaking in public for the first time since her release at a press conference, Zaghari-Ratcliffe criticised the government for the time it took to secure her freedom.

Her husband thanked the government, which led Zaghari-Ratcliffe to respond: "I do not really agree with him on that level."

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"That is unprecedented given the politics of the UK. I love you, Richard, respect whatever you believe, but I was told many, many times that: 'Oh we're going to get you home.'

"That never happened."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's comments didn't go down too well with ex-Conservative MEP for East of England, David C Bannerman.

He took to Twitter, saying: "I do hope she's not biting the hand that saved her. Does she bear no responsibility for being in a country with such a nasty regime?"

Some favoured Bannerman's comments, calling her "ungrateful." One added: "I feel the same. Sick of hearing about this woman who shouldn't have been there in the first place."

In another instance, a caller on LBC accused Zaghari-Ratcliffe of being "politically orientated", saying she donate "all the money" from potential book deals to charity.

"If she hadn't gone to visit family in the first place, she wouldn't have got into trouble in the first place," they added.

Others, however, were disgusted and hit back at the former MP.

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said she owes it to Zaghari-Ratcliffe to ask why it took so long to bring her back.

"So, I've written to Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, to ask for a review into what happened in Nazanin's case," she said.

Siddiq said she would ask the committee to look at two issues.

One of which is related to a 2013 incident when three Iranian officials came to the UK to negotiate the debt's repayment, she said.

"They were arrested at Heathrow Airport and then detained in a UK detention centre. I spoke to (ex-foreign secretary) Jack Straw yesterday, who said he never got to the bottom of why that happened," she said.

"The second thing I'll be asking the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to look at if they accept the inquiry is to look at why there was a deal made last year which then fell through and the money wasn't paid (then) either.

"And I want to know why the deal fell through, why it took so long to pay the debt, and I also want to look at the wider issue of taking hostages, which Iran has done."

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