Nr. 10 condemns assault on “ungrateful” Zaghari-Ratcliffe | Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Downing Street has condemned critics of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who accused her of being “ungrateful” after she expressed frustration with the British government for taking six years to secure her release from an Iranian prison.

Days after landing in the UK, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was abused on social media, saying it should not have taken so long for ministers to ensure she returned home safely.

At a press conference in Parliament on Monday, she said her husband, Richard, had suggested she would thank Secretary of State Liz Truss.

“I do not really agree with him on that level because I have seen five Secretary of State change over the course of six years,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe said.

“How many foreign secretaries does it take before someone comes home? Five? It should have been one of them in the end. “

Freedom 'never completed' if others remain detained in Iran, says Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - video
Freedom ‘never completed’ if others remain detained in Iran, says Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – video

A stream of abuse on social media was directed at her in the wake. Prominent Brexit campaigner Arron Banks called the comments “charming”, saying she was “stupid in a hostile country that we sanction harshly”. He later posted a photo of Zaghari-Ratcliffe with a group of people, including her local MP, Labor’s Tulip Siddiq, and party leader Keir Starmer, adding that it was “hard to imagine she was not politically active in Iran” .

Another poster said, “See #thankful trend, after [£]400m spent on releasing her, she aims at the government in a very polished disgusting way. BTW – wish I looked so good when I ‘broken’. #sendherback. “

Others used the same hashtags, calling her a “disgrace” and blaming what they called a “rude and ungrateful show at her press conference.”

Susan Hall, head of the Greater London Authority Conservatives, also tweeted: “Errr, what you really mean is that Iranians should not have illegally held you captive for 6 years. Now it looks like it’s Britain’s fault… in your eyes. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s what it feels like you’re suggesting. “

And David Bannerman, a former Conservative MEP, said: “I hope she does not bite the hand that saved her. Does she have no responsibility for being in a country with such an ugly regime?”

But No. 10 said Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been through an “unimaginable ordeal” during her time in Iran, defending her right to criticize the British government.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “It is clear that a person who has been through the kind of trials that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has should not be subjected to any kind of abuse, social media or anything else.

“She has been through an incredible ordeal, and we are very happy that she is now reunited with her family. And as a British citizen, a person in a free and democratic country, she is rightly able to express her opinion on any subject she wishes. “

Jeremy Hunt, one of the Secretary of State who tried to secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release, also said on Tuesday that people who criticized her had “got it so wrong”.

“She does not owe us gratitude: we owe her an explanation,” he tweeted. “She is absolutely right that it took too long to get her home. I tried my best – like other foreign secretaries – but if it took six years to do our best, then we must be honest and say that the problem should have been solved earlier.

“This kind of open examination of whether we could make things better is what happens in democratic, open societies.”

David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign minister, also said: “Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe does not owe the government gratitude. The government owes Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe an explanation for what took it so long.”

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