Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe concerned for husband as hunger strikes drags on

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is growing weaker as he tries to pressure the Iranian government into releasing her.

Speaking on the 16th day of his hunger strike, Richard Ratcliffe spoke of his wife’s concerns for his health and his attempts to protect their daughter.

He said his wife was growing more concerned as his health suffers and the hunger strike leaves him with problems walking.

He told The National how he is also trying to protect their daughter, Gabriella, from seeing how the effects of the hunger strike are debilitating him.

“She’s at school and we are trying to maintain a normal life. The first week was half-term so she came down and made pumpkins and we painted some stones.

“Part of my job is to protect her, so we won’t bring her down too much as it goes on. Hopefully it won’t be too upsetting when she does.”

Asked what his wife thinks about the hunger strike, he said she will be concerned for his health.

“Be careful is what she said at the beginning. The trigger starting [this was] the Iranians were about to throw her back in prison. I think by us being here, that is less likely.

“She probably worries less about prison and more about me, and what the hunger strike does, particularly as the days go on. We are in uncharted territory.

“Hunger strikes never help anybody. The longer you do it the more the risk of permanent damage. She is worried.”

He admitted the hunger strike was getting harder now that it’s in its third week.

“Over the weekend, I started to feel the cold and the tiredness.

I can’t walk about that much. I think that’s my body telling me ‘be careful.’ I can still walk unaided but it’s getting harder.

“The Iranian delegation has just arrived at Cop and are here all week. Part of my aspiration is to be here while they are in Britain, so that there is a clear message to them, that it’s not OK to go around taking hostages and then swan around as if everything is normal.”

He said he had been told that Iran’s foreign minister had tweeted of a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss but that he had not heard anything more from officials.

Updated: November 8th 2021, 10:27 PM
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