NAZANIN Zaghari-Ratcliffe is on her way home as her nightmare detention in Iran comes to an end.

The British-Iranian is being freed alongside fellow detainee Anousheh Ashoori, with both leaving via Tehran airport. A third detainee, Morad Tahbaz, has also been released from prison on furlough. 

Tulip Siddiq, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP in Hampstead and Kilburn, tweeted on Wednesday morning: “Nazanin is at the airport in Tehran and on her way home.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss later confirmed Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori have been released by Iran and are returning to the UK on Wednesday.

Siddiq shared a picture of Zaghari-Ratcliffe on the plane home.

The breakthrough will bring an end to the ordeal for Zaghari-Ratcliffe which began in 2016 when she was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini airport after a holiday visit to Iran where she showed her daughter Gabriella to her parents.

Truss announced on Twitter: “I can confirm Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori will return to the UK today, and Morad Tahbaz has been released from prison on furlough. They will be reunited with their families later today.

“We will continue to work to secure Morad’s departure from Iran.”

Ashoori, a British-Iranian retired civil engineer, has been held in Iran for four-and-a-half years. He was visiting his mother in 2017 when he was suddenly taken from the streets of Tehran.

British-American Wildlife conservationist Tahbaz has been detained since 2019, when he was accused of espionage after using cameras to track endangered species.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote: “I am very pleased to confirm that the unfair detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori in Iran has ended today, and they will now return to the UK.

“The UK has worked intensively to secure their release and I am delighted they will be reunited with their families and loved ones.”

Truss said the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori, along with Tahbaz on furlough, was the result of “creative British diplomacy”.

The Foreign Secretary confirmed the UK has settled the £400 million debt relating to an order of Chieftain tanks cancelled following the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in the revolution of 1979.

She added: “In parallel, we have also settled the IMS debt, as we said we would.

“I made resolving the continued detention of British nationals and the IMS debt payment my top priorities when I entered office in September 2021. In my first week, I spoke to the families of all the detainees and met my Iranian counterpart in New York.

According to AP, Tehran says the UK has "settled a long-overdue debt of $530m" with Iran. 

There have been signs of progress in delicate negotiations between the UK and Iran in recent days.

The Prime Minister cautiously raised hopes on Wednesday that the dual national’s six-year ordeal could come to a close after suggestions the mother-of-one has had her passport returned.

A glimmer of optimism for the 43-year-old came a day earlier when her Siddiq, Zaghari-Ratcliffe's constituency MP, said her British passport had been returned.

Johnson confirmed a British negotiating team was working in Tehran to secure the release of dual nationals.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016, accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and sentenced to five years in jail, spending four years in Tehran’s Evin Prison and one under house arrest.

Both the UK Government and Zaghari-Ratcliffe have always denied the allegations.

In 2017, then foreign secretary Johnson told MPs that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran “training journalists”. The bogus claim was jumped on by Iranian authorities, who said it was proof Zaghari-Ratcliffe was lying about her reasons for being in the country. Johnson later apologised.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, spent 21 days on hunger strike last year in London to draw attention to his wife’s case.

Speaking as his wife flew home, he told reporters: “I think it is going to be the beginning of a new life, a normal life, and hopefully a happy family.

“And there will be bumps, no doubt, and all the normal squabbles we had before but, yeah, I think we’re really looking forward to seeing her.”

The family of Ashoori said they were “delighted” he had been released from Iran and was returning to the UK, adding: “This day has been a long time coming, and we are thankful for the efforts of everyone involved in bringing Anoosheh home.”