Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori land at RAF Brize Norton

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori lands at RAF Brize Norton following their release from prison in Iran. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori landed last night at RAF Brize Norton following their release from prison in Iran.

The pair touched down on British soil at the British Air Force base at just after 1am.

Tears of joy were shed as the families of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori were reunited with their loved ones in the early hours of Thursday after years of detention by the Government of Iran.

The duo were also welcomed back into the UK by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss talks with Anoosheh Ashoori and his family after landing at RAF Brize Norton following his release after almost 5 years of detention in Iran. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a former English teacher spent almost six years imprisoned in Iran after being accused of spreading misinformation and plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

The prosecutor general of Tehran stated in October 2017 that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held for running “a BBC Persian online journalism course which was aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against Iran.”

Mr Ashoori, who was detained in Evin prison for almost five years, was accused of spying.

Both have consistently and vigorously denied the allegations.

When the plane landed Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s seven-year-old daughter Gabriella was heard asking “is that mummy?” and then shouting “mummy” as she ran to the plane’s stairs. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe scooped the little girl up in her arms as they were surrounded by other family members.

Speaking at Brize Norton after the pair’s arrival, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

“I think it’s been a really difficult 48 hours, the expectation that they would be released, but we weren’t sure right until the last moment.

“It’s been very emotional, but also a really happy moment for the families, and I’m pleased to say that both Nazanin and Anoosheh are in good spirits and they’re safe and well back here in Britain.”

Truss added:

“Their release is the result of years of hard work and dedication by our brilliant diplomats, and intensive efforts over the past six months. I pay tribute to my predecessors and the Prime Minister, who have all worked hard to resolve this issue.

“We have the deepest admiration for the resolve, courage and determination Nazanin, Anoosheh and Morad, and their families, have shown. They have faced hardship that no family should ever experience and this is a moment of great relief.”

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