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Husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says she is ‘stronger’ after panic attacks

Richard Ratcliffe has called for a meeting with the Iranian foreign minister.

The husband of imprisoned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said she is doing “markedly better” after speaking to her in an Iranian jail.

Richard Ratcliffe spoke to his wife on Sunday morning from her prison ward after she was given a three-day temporary release.

She passed out during a panic attack and had to be taken to a prison clinic earlier this week after being returned to captivity.

“She said today she was feeling stronger, that she still had a few days where she was still feeling numb in her legs and dizzy and headaches – but that it was markedly better today and had been gradually getting better all week,” he told Sky News.

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter Gabriella during her temporary release from prison in Iran (handout/PA)

“There was a family visit later on and they said that actually she was quite angry which is probably a good sign that the overwhelming experience of the past week is catching up and now the unfairness of it was coming through.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years imprisonment for spying in 2016, but maintains her innocence, saying she was on holiday to introduce her daughter to her family in Iran.

Mr Ratcliffe said their daughter Gabriella was “really upset” after her mother was returned to prison.

“She wouldn’t sleep and wouldn’t settle and wouldn’t eat, but now it’s back into the rhythm of she sees her mum,” he added.

“Again, she was asking when is mummy coming home and when are you coming home and asking me on the phone yesterday when are you going to come and visit.”

In an open letter to Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif, Mr Ratcliffe said his wife was deeply upset at being forced back to prison, which he called a “cruel game”.

“There were some things that have happened in the past week that I just thought were outrageous, partly it felt like a power game that she was allowed out and taken back in,” he said.

“She said on the phone that it felt like she had been taken to some safe house and then paraded on the balcony so everyone could see her and then put back in captivity again.”

He called on Mr Zarif to meet him next week at a UN summit in New York to discuss his wife’s case.

Mr Ratcliffe said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been “as strong as we could have wanted” after he promised to heighten efforts aimed at securing the British-Iranian’s release.

The disclosure of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s jail torment came as Middle East minister Alistair Burt held talks with Iranian deputy foreign affairs minister Abbas Araghchi in Tehran about the situation.

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