Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband ends hunger strike after 21 days outside Foreign Office

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is ending his hunger strike in central London after almost three weeks.

Keeping 'head held high'

On Saturday morning on King Charles Street, where Ratcliffe has been staging his hunger strike, he told the PA news agency his job is to “keep going”, adding: “We probably hoped we’d get a breakthrough doing this. We haven’t yet.

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“I didn’t want to go out in an ambulance. I want to walk out with my head held high.”

His strike ended as a patchwork was due to be unveiled made from all the patches supporters have been sending throughout his time camped outside the FCDO.

Mr Ratcliffe said he was starting to get pains in his feet overnight, and after a chat with a doctor the decision was made to end the hunger strike.

He said he plans to go to hospital to get checked out on Saturday afternoon and then hopes to be able to eat something after that.

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A meeting with Foreign Office minister James Cleverly, after FCDO officials had talks with Iranian deputy foreign minister Bagheri Kani on Thursday, left Mr Ratcliffe feeling “deflated” and “stuck in the same status quo”.

Situation not 'moved forward'

He said he did not feel things had “moved forwards” and accused the British Government of not giving a “clear enough message to Iran that hostage-taking is wrong”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, has been in custody in Iran since 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

She was taking the couple’s daughter Gabriella to see her family when she was arrested and sentenced to five years in jail, spending four years in Evin Prison and one under house arrest.

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According to her family, she was told by Iranian authorities that she was being detained because of the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400 million debt to Iran.

It is the second time Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike, having camped in front of the Iranian embassy for 15 days two years ago – a move he said had resulted in getting his daughter home.

During Ratcliffe’s latest demonstration he has been visited by supporters including Strictly Come Dancing co-host Claudia Winkleman, writer and presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as well as his local MP Tulip Siddiq.

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