I hope ‘see you to­mor­row’ comes true for Nazanin

The Daily Telegraph - - Features -

It was heart­break­ing to watch the news and see Nazanin Zaghari-rat­cliffe and her lit­tle girl, Gabriella, sing Wind The Bob­bin Up. It’s such a nor­mal, happy bond­ing thing for a tod­dler and her mummy to per­form all the ac­tions, cli­max­ing in that tri­umphant: “Clap, clap, clap!” It took a mo­ment to re­mem­ber that Nazanin and Gabriella have been sep­a­rated since April 2016 when the Bri­tish-ira­nian Nazanin was jailed at the end of a fam­ily hol­i­day in Iran.

Liv­ing in Tehran with her grand­par­ents and un­able to see her fa­ther, Richard Rat­cliffe, who can’t get a visa, Gabriella, now aged three, speaks Farsi and is fast los­ing her English. The only words she has left are “I love you” and “See you to­mor­row”.

Through­out the 19-month or­deal, Mr Rat­cliffe has dis­played great elo­quence and steadi­ness, al­though he must want to howl for his wife and lost baby. I ad­mired his re­fusal this week to join in calls for Boris John­son’s res­ig­na­tion af­ter the For­eign Sec­re­tary blun­der­ingly said that Nazanin has been “train­ing jour­nal­ists” in Iran, an er­ror that could well ex­tend the poor woman’s hor­ri­ble prison sen­tence.

Iron­i­cally, since Boris’s mis­take the case has started to get the pub­lic at­ten­tion it

al­ways de­served. Boris apol­o­gised be­lat­edly, but he had bet­ter stretch ev­ery sinew from now on to get 38-year-old Nazanin freed.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, she is on the verge of a ner­vous break­down and lumps have been found in her breast. This is a woman with a Bri­tish home, a Bri­tish husband and a Bri­tish child. Her suf­fer­ing is ter­ri­ble. The first time Gabriella vis­ited her mummy in jail, Nazanin had a sack over her head.

Boris would show a wel­come hu­man­ity if he used his power to take Richard Rat­cliffe with him to Iran on his forth­com­ing visit. They may not be able to free Nazanin for some time, but at least Gabriella can use what re­mains of her English to her daddy. See you to­mor­row.

Torn apart: Richard Rat­cliffe has not been able to see his wife Nazanin and daugh­ter Gabriella since April last year

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