Politics

Pizzas, Selfies And Brushing Hair: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe On Her First Weekend Of Freedom

When asked how she had spent her first weekend of freedom, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe beamed.

She described how her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella had been “upgrading mummy and downgrading daddy”.

The 43-year-old laughed as she told a press conference: “And rightly so.”

Her husband Richard confessed they were “still negotiating” over whether daddy was allowed in the same bed as Gabriella and Nazanin.

The little girl has been sleeping in her mother’s bed after she escaped Iran after nearly six traumatic years.

As her mother arrived at at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire last Thursday, Gabriella was heard exclaiming: “Is that mummy?”

One of the most touching images of the family’s reunion was that of Zaghari-Ratcliffe tucking her daughter’s hair behind her ears.

Instead of returning to the family home in north London, the family reportedly spent their first few days of freedom at the chancellor’s country mansion in Buckinghamshire.

They stayed at Dorneywood, an 18th century mansion which is typically used by chancellors of the exchequer, according to the Telegraph.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was photographed making pizzas with her daughter and the whole family was pictured in a selfie.

She told the pack of journalists it was “lovely” to finally spend the weekend holding her daughter again and braiding her hair.

<strong>Nazanin reunited with Gabriella on Thursday morning.</strong>” width=”596″ height=”391″ src=”https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/6238b18e210000cf3a504307.jpeg?ops=scalefit_1280_noupscale”/><strong>Nazanin reunited with Gabriella on Thursday morning.</strong></p>
<p>“I haven’t seen Gabriella for the past two-and-half years because she was with my parents in Iran and she left in 2019,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe said.</p>
<p>“So lots of catching up, it was lovely to get to hold her, to braid her hair and brush her hair.”</p>
<p>Her daughter was just 22 months old when her mother was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on trumped up charges.</p>
<p>Gabriella spent three-and-a-half years living with her grandparents in Iran, before she returned to the UK to live with her father and start school in October 2019.</p>
<p>“It is surreal to come back and to be holding my husband and my baby – who is not a baby,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe added.</p>
<p>The mother-of-one thanked her “amazing husband” who has been tirelessly campaigning for her release and Gabriella who she described as “very patient”.</p>
<p>She added: “The coming back was very tough.  You realize you are coming back to a daughter that is nearly eight.</p>
<p>“I left her when she was nearly two.  I’m getting to know them better now.”</p>
<p> Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by their local MP Tulip Siddiq.</p>
<p><span class=Victoria Jones via PA Wire/PA Images

She said she was really looking forward to taking Gabriella on the school run, adding: “I want to get to know her friends and the community. I think we will have a lot of getting to know each other.”

Ratcliffe acknowledged that the journey back to normality would involve “baby steps”, adding: “I am super proud of her strength and her survival and her grace.”

The Zaghari-Ratcliffe family are not expected to hold any other interviews following today’s press conference and are asking for their privacy to be respected so they can settle into their new family life.

Asked about her fame, Zaghari-Ratcliffe said: “Gabriella told me on the phone one day when I was still in Iran: ‘Mummy you do realize that you are very famous, and then me, and then Daddy’.

“She said: ‘You’re not going to be famous forever, maximum a week’.”

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