Zaghari-Ratcliffe files report of Revolutionary Guards harassment

By Patrick Wintour

The British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has claimed she is being harassed at her parents’ home in Tehran by Revolutionary Guards officers as she remains under house arrest awaiting the date of a second trial.

In her report of the incident to the Tehran prosecutors’ office, she said Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers had come to the house on Tuesday morning and falsely accused her of breaking the tag she was fitted with when she was given a temporary release from prison in March on furlough. She was warned she would be taken back to the revolutionary courts.

The complaint was also sent indirectly to the UK Foreign Office.

The incident occurred just before 7am when an unnamed individual rang on her family landline phone accusing her of breaching the tag and insisting an officer would come to her home to check.

The call was not made from the normal officers responsible for administering the tag and Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family refused to let the individual into their house, but recognised him as one of the IRGC officers that recently took her to court to face a second set of charges a fortnight ago.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, determined not to be intimidated by the IRGC tactics, then rang the prosecutor’s office to complain that only the tagging centre, and not the IRGC had the authority to monitor her movements as a prisoner on furlough.

She said in the report the judiciary was required to talk to the IRGC, and not her. She urged the Tehran deputy prosecutor Amin Waziri, responsible for all liaisons with prisoners in Evin jail and their families, to have the courage to talk to her rather than hiding away from the game of cat and mouse being played by the IRGC.

The prosecutor’s office then said they would meet her to discuss her case, and she told the office that she would only attend if her lawyer was present and she was accompanied by prison guards and not the IRGC since they had no jurisdiction.

The tagging office said there may have been a technical problem with her tag, but the family do not believe this explanation since any call about a breach of the tag would have come from the tagging office, and not from IRGC officers coming to her door.

The episode comes as diplomatic relations between Iran and the west reach a new pitch over the future of the Iran nuclear deal. The recent execution of the popular Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari and the 40-day hunger strike by Nasrin Sotoudeh has also raised the profile of political prisoners within Iran once again.

There are also reports that the French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah is also being moved from Evin prison, but the reason is not yet clear. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has been demanding her release after she was jailed in May 2020 for five years for “collusion with a view to attacking national security”.

On Monday, speaking to the US Council on Foreign Relations the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, offered a complete prisoner swap with the US, but has made no such parallel offer for the UK.