Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said the protests of Iran to remind her of the helplessness she experienced during her six-year imprisonment in the country.

A British-Iranian spokesman said “the world cannot turn a blind eye to Iran” and that the UK government “must act” on human rights abuses as women and girls take to the country’s streets in protest.

The widespread action was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month while in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. She was detained for allegedly violating Iran’s strict Islamic dress code, which requires women to cover their hair with a hijab.

Police claimed she went into cardiac arrest at the detention center and died in hospital, but her family say she died as a result of police brutality.

Speaking further Sky NewsMs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who joined a movement of women cutting their hair in solidarity with Iran, said it “brings back memories… of how helpless you are when you are in detention”, having spent six years herself in prison in Iran accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

“What has helped the Iranian regime maintain the way they treat people is the way they arrest you and cut you off from the rest of the world,” she said.

“So, they are put in a detention center or taken to an unknown place and emotionally broken.

“It’s on my mind every time I hear the news about the arrest. I think about what I’ve been through… imagining what they’re going through now.’

Ms Zagary-Ratcliffe said the protests were “very strong” and “female [that] take to the streets, create history by their very existence.”

“It’s not about violence, it’s about peaceful protests – but also about presenting ourselves to the world so they can see us, we’re here,” she added.

Thousands of people in Iran and elsewhere took to the streets to protest the country’s morality police and treatment of women. According to human rights groups, at least 133 protesters were killed in Iran since the beginning of the demonstrations and the death of the 22-year-old boy.

Protesters took to Trafalgar Square in central London last week, where thousands held flags, sang protest songs and spoke out against the current dictatorship in Iran and in support of women in the country.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe recorded a video of herself cutting her hair in support of women protesting in Iran over the death of young Iranian woman Mahsa Amini.


Police accused Ms Amini of violating the country’s strict dress code, which requires women to cover their hair and dress modestly in public. After being detained, Iranian officials say she suffered a sudden heart attack, but protesters claim she was beaten by police during the detention.

After three days in a coma, she died on September 16, sparking protests in Iran and around the world. Many in the country – including activists and journalists – have been arrested or killed since the riots.

Ms Zagary-Ratcliffe is now calling for the UK government to “monitor, protect and act” on human rights abuses in Iran, including imposing sanctions, and that she “expects Liz Truss to condemn what is happening” in the country. She added that the protests are now more than just whether or not to wear the hijab.

“If we talk about human rights, then we need to act,” she added. “It’s not just about talk, talk is cheap,” she said.

She continued, “When you talk about [putting] our citizens and their rights come first, you have to really act – just talking about it doesn’t solve my problem.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was freed earlier this year after the British government agreed to settle a £400m debt with Tehran dating back to 1979.

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