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Nazanin ends hunger strike after losing 3kg in three days

Jailed Thomson Reuters Foundation manager Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (photo) ended her three-day hunger strike, and Iran's ambassador in London said her husband's campaign to secure her release is reducing her chances of freedom.

The news that she had brought her hunger strike to an end after authorities at Tehran’s Evil prison agreed she could receive medical treatment for a lump in her breast was given by the Free Nazanin campaign, which said she had been allowed to telephone her husband Richard in London.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, lost 3kg over the three days she was on hunger strike and suffered increasing dizziness and a constant headache, the group said.

“The past few days have been really stressful. I never thought three days could pass so long,” Richard Ratcliffe said.

Iranian ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad said she had already been given full access to the required facilities.

He said of the campaign mounted by her husband: “The way he has tried to campaign and make this a public issue is not helpful.” He suggested that doing so was merely agitating Ratcliffe’s wife and causing her psychological distress.

The ambassador insisted that his remarks should not be construed as a threat, but said: “If her husband wants to be helpful, he should calm the situation.”

He added: “The way he is trying to politicise the matter and publicise it is not helpful at all and puts the lady in a very stressful situation. It is only making this more complex.”

Baeidinejad also accused Ratcliffe of lying when he claimed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had offered his wife freedom a month ago if she agreed to act as a spy for Iran in the UK. He insisted: “We want to help her and approach this from a humanitarian point of view.”

The ambassador said that any convicted prisoner subject to a jail sentence of under 10 years could be released after serving a third of their sentence on the recommendation of the prison to the prosecutor general, so long as the individual was not deemed to be a threat to society or likely to reoffend.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in jail more than two years ago and therefore would now be eligible for release. ■

The Guardian