Freed British Aid Worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe Says Iran Forced Her To Sign Confession
British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was held in Iran as an accused spy for six years, said she was forced to sign a false confession at the airport before being allowed to board a plane home to the United Kingdom. Zaghari-Ratcliffe said in the interview aired on the BBC on Monday that she was taken away by members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp without seeing her parents and “made to sign the forced confession at the airport in the presence of the British government” when she was released on March. She questioned why the British officials did not challenge Iran when it made the forced convention a condition of her release. She said that Iranian officials, who told her that she could not go free without signing the confession, filmed the entire signing process. “Why would I sign something? I have been trying very, very hard for the past six years to say I have not done it,” she said. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 while visiting her parents in Iran with her British-born daughter, Gabriella, who is now 7 years old. She was working as a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity arm of the news agency, at the time of her arrest. She was convicted of “propaganda against the system,” and plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment. She spent nearly five years in an Iranian jail and another year under house arrest, in part for attending a demonstration outside the Iranian Embassy in London and being interviewed by the BBC Persian network more than a decade ago. She was released from house arrest a year ago but immediately called back to court over new propaganda charges, for which she was sentenced to another year in prison and a one-year ban on leaving the country after the end of the prison term.