Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has warned the world ‘cannot turn a blind eye to Iran’ as she called on Liz Truss’ government to act on Tehran’s human rights abuses that prompted the latest hijab protests.
The British Iranian national, who was jailed in Iran for six years before her release earlier this year, said recent events have brought back memories of her own imprisonment at the hands of the Iranian regime.
It comes as the wave of opposition to the regime continues in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody last month after being detained by Iranian morality police last month for not wearing a hijab in accordance with government standards.
An Iranian coroner also claimed Amini had died of illness, not police violence, and insisted two girls killed during anti-hijab protests ‘fell from rooftops’, despite claims security forces killed the teenagers.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has warned the world ‘cannot turn a blind eye to Iran’ as Ishe called on Liz Truss’ government to act on Tehran’s human rights abuses that led to recent hijab protests
Talking to Sky News’ Beth Rigby on Friday said Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe wants to see more action from the UK government over the current human rights abuses in Iran.
“I want them to observe what’s going on, not to turn a blind eye,” she said.
‘I want them to protect us.
“We cannot be indifferent to what is happening in Iran, and if we are talking about protecting the rights of our citizens, we have to do something about it, and I think we have to hold Iran accountable.
“The world needs to make it very, very expensive for Iran to violate human rights so easily. It should be expensive,’ she said, adding that this should include penalties.
Regarding Liz Truss, who settled debts that resulted in Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release earlier this year, she said: ‘She knows what’s going on in Iran, she just secured me and Anoosheh’s release, so she’s very aware, what is happening. in the country.
‘Condemning what is happening in the country of Iran and issuing a statement is not enough, but it is a good gesture.’
It comes as the wave of opposition to the regime continues in Iran, sparked by the death in custody last month of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after being detained by Iranian morality police last month for not wearing a hijab in accordance with government standards
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on to talk about cutting her hair as a gesture of solidarity with the women protesting in Iran.
She described it as a ‘symbol of women gaining more power over their bodies’, resonating around the world.
“It’s a way to symbolize how women will have the right to cover their hair or not … because for women, of course, it’s not just about the Middle East, it’s about an international issue that women are constantly being governed by,” she said.
Speaking about the women protesting in Iran, she said: ‘There is a new wave of schoolgirls rising up who are standing up for their right to take off their headscarves to protest and this is a new generational shift.
“I think it’s gotten to the point where they feel like they don’t have a choice,” she said, adding that it’s not about the hijab anymore, but about “not being happy with the way they lives on.”
Asked what will happen in Iran now, she said: ‘What I think is… Iran will never be the same.
‘Whatever happens in the future, it will never go back to where it was before September.’
An Iranian medical examiner claimed that Amini did not die as a result of violent blows, but from multiple organ failure caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Speaking about the women protesting in Iran, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe said: ‘There is a new wave of schoolgirls standing up for their right to take off their headscarves to protest and this is a new generational change
The country’s authorities also deny reports that security forces killed two girls during protests over Amini’s death, saying they both died by suicide by falling from rooftops.
Reports on social media and the human rights group Amnesty International reject the Iranian authorities’ claim, saying that Sarina Esmaeilzadeh, 16, and Nika Shakarami, 17, were both killed while taking part in the protests.
Amini went into a coma after being arrested in Tehran and died while in police custody in hospital.
Her father has said she had bruises on her legs and holds the police responsible for her death.
At Amini’s funeral in Saqez, her hometown in Kurdistan, security forces fired tear gas at protesters who had gathered. The protesters shouted ‘death to the dictator’ as they took off their scarves.
Women and young schoolgirls have been pictured waving and burning scarves in protest against the regime.
So far, around 150 people have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands arrested in a crackdown on nationwide protests that marks the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leadership in years.