Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: timeline of key events during her detention in Iran

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released after being detained in Iran for almost six years

The family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe are celebrating as the former detainee makes her way about to the UK for the first time in six years.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained in Iran in 2016, with husband Richard Ratcliffe campaigning continuously for her release.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Much to their joy, she was finally released on 16 March 2022.

Upon news of her released, Mr Ratcliffe said: “Thank you. We wouldn’t have got here, this wouldn’t have happened today, without all the care and support of people up and down the country.

“Homecoming is a journey, not an arrival.

“I don’t think it will just be today, there will be a whole process, and hopefully we’ll look back in years to come and just be a normal family and this will be a chapter in our lives, but there are many more chapters to come.”

But what happened in the six years she was detained?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, continuously campaigned for the released of his detained wife. (Credit: Getty)Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, continuously campaigned for the released of his detained wife. (Credit: Getty)
Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, continuously campaigned for the released of his detained wife. (Credit: Getty) | Getty Images

3 April, 2016

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini Airport. Her charge was not released publicly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

9 August, 2016

Former Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe’s detention.

9 September, 2016

Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe is jailed in Iran for five years.

13 November, 2016

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe begins a five day hunger strike in protest of her detainment. The hunger strike is called off after her family voice concerns for her health.

24 April, 2017

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe loses the final stage of her appeal process, with Theresa May once again contacting President Rouhani.

1 November, 2017

Boris Johnson, foreign secretary at the time, set’s Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe’s case back after stating that she “was simply teaching people journalism as I understand it”. However, Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe only ever held an administrative role at BBC World News.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Foreign Office rebuked claims that Mr Johnson’s words put Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe at risk of further legal action, however it admitted that the foreign secretary “could have been clearer.”

Timeline of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran. (Credit: JPIMedia/ Mark Hall)Timeline of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran. (Credit: JPIMedia/ Mark Hall)
Timeline of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran. (Credit: JPIMedia/ Mark Hall) | JPIMedia/Mark Hall

23 August, 2018

She is temporarily released from prison and returns three days after being reunited with her family.

14 January, 2019

She begins a hunger strike in protest over her treatment in jail. The strike lasts three days.

15 June 2019

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe begins another hunger strike, this time lasting 15 days. She is joined, in a show of solidarity, by her husband, who strikes outside the Iranian Embassy in London.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Nazanin’s husband, Richard, joined her hunger strike in solidarity with his wife. (Credit: Getty)Nazanin’s husband, Richard, joined her hunger strike in solidarity with his wife. (Credit: Getty)
Nazanin’s husband, Richard, joined her hunger strike in solidarity with his wife. (Credit: Getty) | Getty Images

25 September, 2019

Boris Johnson, now Prime Minister, appeals for Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe’s release during a meeting with President Rouhani at the UN.

17 March, 2020

She is temporarily released from prison for a second time due to Covid concerns, raising hope for clemency. She remains out of prison until a decision is made on her clemency and is able to speak to her family via video calls for around four to five hours per day.

26 April, 2021

Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe is sentenced to a one-year jail term for an unspecified charge and is banned from leaving Iran for one year.

It is believed that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces the charge of spreading “propaganda against the system” for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.

15 March, 2022

Ms Naghari-Ratcliffe’s passport is returned.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

16 March, 2022

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, another dual-citizenship detainee, are released from detention and begin to travel back to the UK.

The news was met with overwhelming positive reaction.

Among those to comment was Prime Minister Boris Johnson who, when asked about his comments from November 2017, said: “We must always realise that, sadly, the regime in Tehran is capable of holding people in this way.

“I think that people do need to recognise that. I am glad that after a great deal of UK diplomacy we have been able to get her out, get her back to her family.

“I am absolutely thrilled for Nazanin, for Richard and for [Nazanin’s daughter] Gabriella .”

A message from the editor:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.