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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe shaken after being told she 'will be convicted' on new charge

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A British-Iranian mother jailed in Tehran has been left "shaken" after being told she was likely to be convicted over a new charge.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 39, was taken to a court on Saturday morning and informed by a judge she was likely to be found guilty of spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime, the Free Nazanin campaign said.


Judge Salavati rejected her choice of lawyer, who had "not been approved", the campaign added.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from Hampstead, north London, denied the charge as she pleaded for clemency and asked to "go home and have another baby".

A demonstration in London in support of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Image: A number of demonstrations have been held in London in support of the mother

Speaking to Sky News, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was "shaken" and she has spoken to the British ambassador, urging Rob Macaire to protest to Iranian authorities and also visit her in prison.

Mr Ratcliffe, who met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in March, said he had been "quite cross and vocal" with UK authorities at points during her long-running case, and was hoping to meet senior officials at the Foreign Office later this week.

Last November, Mr Johnson was accused of inflaming the situation with comments he made about her, for which he later apologised, saying he retracted "any suggestion she was there (in Iran) in a professional capacity (when she was arrested in 2016)".

Members of her family in Iran are set to have talks with the UK ambassador in the coming days.

The latest move comes amid the backdrop of the US saying Iran will face the "strongest sanctions in history" if it doesn't change course and axe its nuclear programme and pull out of the Syrian war.

Following US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Tehran has now been issued with a list of 12 demands by Washington.

Asked whether he thought his wife was getting caught up in the international row and was useful to the Iranians, Mr Ratcliffe admitted his wife's case had been political for a long time.

Last week, Mr Ratcliffe said he feared his wife would be taken back to court on a resurrected charge of spreading propaganda against the regime.

She is already serving a five-year jail term after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime - something she has always denied.

The new charge comes despite a telephone discussion between Theresa May and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, during which the prime minister called for the release of British prisoners held in Iran on humanitarian grounds.

During the hearing on Saturday, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is quoted as saying: "I have never been involved in overthrowing the regime.

"I do think the government here needs to reform, but I have never been involved in any attempts to change the regime."

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Image: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe wants to return home and have another baby

She also spoke about her desire to have a second baby, telling the judge: "This year I am turning 40. I might only have a slim chance."

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is said to have added: "There is something called clemency. Give me that for the sake of my baby. She hasn't seen her father for over two years now.

"I would ask the judge today to close this new case and give me parole, so that I can go home and have another baby and have a normal life."

The judge said he would address her case "as a priority".

The Free Nazanin campaign said that the following day Mr Zaghari-Ratcliffe was allowed to phone Rob Macaire, the new British ambassador to Iran, from prison.

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