22 June 2019

Imprisoned in Iran

Nazanin and Richard: A love story

Trapped in a diplomatic nightmare, they are dreaming of a return to a normal life

By Ravin Sampat

Nazanin and Richard: a love story (35:15)

Sitting in a soggy tent in the pouring rain outside the Iranian Embassy in London, Richard Ratcliffe has been holding a personal vigil this week in support of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who remains imprisoned in Tehran.

His hunger strike outside the Embassy has brought fresh attention to the plight of his wife, who is serving a five-year sentence for espionage and is herself on hunger strike in protest at her conditions after more than 1,000 days in Evin jail.

Over the course of three visits, we sat with Richard, drinking mint tea, as he described their three-year struggle at the centre of a diplomatic nightmare. As we spoke, their love story unfolded, from a first date by the Thames to their “series of weddings” from Winchester to Tehran and the arrival of their daughter Gabriella, now five, who is currently separated from both of her parents.

Richard talks of their short phone calls, of sending his wife a jar of marmalade – a small attempt to keep alive Nazanin’s hope that there is a life waiting for her – and their dream of “a journey back to normal” at their home in London.

Edited and Produced by Sam Hockley