Richard Ratcliffe To His Wife Nazanin: ‘Being Apart Hasn’t Diminished Our Love’

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's sentence has come to an end, but it remains uncertain when she will be released. Last month, her husband Richard wrote a love letter to his wife, contemplating what the future will hold for their family...

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released

by Anna Silverman |

Last month we asked Richard Ratcliffe, 46, to write a love letter to his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been been living at her parents’ home in Tehran, Iran, under house arrest since last March. At the time, she was serving the final weeks of her five-year prison sentence for spurious charges of espionage, while Richard cares for their six-year-old daughter, Gabriella, at their home in London. This weekend, Nazanin had her ankle tag removed as her sentence came to an end. However, with a new court date looming next Sunday, she remains unable to leave the country.

While her immediate fate remains uncertain, here is the letter Richard wrote to his wife...

My dear Nazanin,

As you sit and wait at your parents’ home in Tehran, remember how far you’ve come. Soon you should be coming home to Gabriella and me, when your sentence ends on 7 March. Yes, it’s uncertain, and I’m fearful the Iranian government has more tricks up its sleeve. We have been told of recent threats. But your optimism is what we need right now. I really hope this nightmare may be nearly over and we might go back to normality soon – perhaps true for all of us in lockdown. It will be a happy homecoming, but happy ever after is a bit less sure. We both have our traumas after this. When you’re apart, you worry about what that does to a relationship and whether you’ll be able to understand each other again. It’s going to be a journey to reintegrate. Thank God the pandemic coincided with you coming out on house arrest so we can talk to you for hours – baking brownies over Skype – instead of our four minutes a week when you were in prison.

I know it’s been overwhelming for you to be exposed to the internet again. You’ve struggled to see our entire family album splashed over the news. But once you’re safely back on our sofa it will have been worth it. This period has forced us all to learn new ways in which to pass our time, reach out and show we care. Are you still sewing facemasks? Boris Johnson appreciated the woolly hat you knitted for his baby son, Wilfred. When this is over, hopefully we’ll be able to have another baby. We’ve promised Gabriella a sibling – a sister is her preference. Let’s make that happen.

When I told Gabriella Mummy’s sentence should be ending soon, she started taking her ‘magic’ dolly to bed, after someone told her it will make her wishes come true. She cuddles it to make sure you come back. ‘We’re nearly there my love,’ we often tell each other. We will survive and we will catch up on lost time. We just need to keep that in sight. For so long we’ve needed to be guarded when it’s come to looking forward to things. Soon it will be time to relax. There’s no point hoarding the injustices. In the end, it is the kindness that will linger.

Picture: Suki Dhanda

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