Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Twitter trolls wrong to call Iran detainee ‘ungrateful’ - the Government failed her

‘Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe asked for none of this and yet paid the heaviest price by losing years of her life’

To break that down further, that means she spent a total of 2173 days or more than 52,000 hours in detention through no fault of her own.

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All of that time, all of those years are now lost. She will never get them back.

Nazanin has been robbed of the opportunity to see her child grow up.

Now, if you’re a parent, take a minute to think about how that would affect you.

It is utterly heartbreaking - and that’s not to forget the time that she has missed out on with her husband Richard, her family, friends and colleagues.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by their local MP Tulip Siddiq (right) - PA

And yet, for some, none of that is important to them.

What does matter for them though, apparently, is that she had the temerity to not thank the Government for her release.

The hashtag #ungratefulcow has been trending on Twitter throughout the day - as has #sendherback.

When did we lose the ability to empathise? To try and understand, even for a second, the hardships that others go through - no matter how alien their experiences may seem to us.

Instead, those on the right - and, yes, that’s who it is (see the tweet below) - are aiming to vilify someone who has been robbed of years of her life.

And for what? To defend successive governments and foreign secretaries who’ve so badly failed her?

Let’s look at the facts around this case.

In 2013 - three years before Nazanin was detained - an official Iranian delegation travelled to the UK to hold talks over a £400m debt.

They were reportedly held in a detention centre before being deported.

The Guardian reported that this incident later played a part in the problems of securing Nazanin’s release.

In 2016, Nazanin was convicted for supposedly spying in Iran - an allegation she has always strongly denied and one that, frankly, has no credence.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson later said that she had been in Iran to “teach people journalism”.

That was false and his statement, at best, complicated her case and resulted in a propaganda coup for the Iranian regime.

Her release was seemingly always linked to a £400m “legitimate” debt - Liz Truss’s words not mine - that the UK owed to Iran over a tanks deal that was never fulfilled in the 1970s.

The UK finally decided to pay this debt - but, by that time, Nazanin had already been detained for six long years.

She was continually told by UK officials that she would be released - and she wasn’t.

Nazanin was caught in the crossfire of a decades-long diplomatic argument between the UK and Iran.

She has been failed by successive UK governments and used as a pawn by the cruel and oppressive Iranian regime. She asked for none of this and yet paid the heaviest price by losing years of her life.

Why should she be thankful?

So, if you’re thinking about calling her “ungrateful” because she didn’t thank an institution that failed to protect her - I’d suggest that you take a deep breath and try to gain a little perspective.

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