Iranian prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'could be released in weeks'


A British mother in prison in Tehran has been told she is eligible for early release, in the most positive sign yet she may be freed soon on humanitarian grounds.

Rallies continue to be held calling for the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who denies charges of plotting against Iran.

Mr Ratcliffe told Good Morning Britain: "Last night she met with her lawyer".

Ratcliffe told Sky News that nothing had been confirmed officially and that "there is still some paperwork" to complete.

After being detained for over five months, initially for 45 days in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was subjected to an unfair trial and sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of "membership of an illegal group".

"It doesn't mean to say she is going to get early release, but it's definitely a positive step that she has been marked eligible for early release".

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's high-profile case has become intertwined with the foreign secretary's political career since he made an erroneous statement last month, which appeared to complicate her legal battle.

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Johnson met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif at the start of December to discuss Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case.

In his letter to ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad, Mr Ratcliffe said he was not prepared to let the latest "falsehood" about his wife stand unchallenged.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been accused of running "a BBC Persian online journalism course, which was aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against Iran".

"It has given Nazanin a real boost of positive energy, and now we wait impatiently to see what happens next".

"The lawyer is much more positive and Nazanin is much more positive", she added.

Hampstead and Kilburn Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who has been involved in the campaign for her constituent's release, said: "This news is a glimmer of light at the end of a dark tunnel for my constituents Richard, Nazanin and Gabriella".