Emotional family reunions for Brits held in Iran as they finally return to UK

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori have been reunited with their families after years held prisoner in Iran. They landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire shortly after 1am and walked off

Emotional family reunions for Brits held in Iran as they finally return to UK

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori have been reunited with their families after years held prisoner in Iran.

They landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire shortly after 1am and walked off the plane together, giving a brief wave as they stepped foot again on British soil.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained in Iran for six years after being accused of plotting to overthrow the government,

Anoosheh Ashoori had been held on spying charges since 2017. Both denied the allegations.

Mr Ashoori could also be seen in the cockpit having a selfie with pilots before he got off - and pictures tweeted by the foreign secretary showed the Britons meeting their loved ones again.

One photo shows Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe holding her daughter Gabriella's face in her hands, another the two families side by side.

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Arm in arm with their loved ones
Image: The two families both campaigned hard to free their loved ones
The foreign secretary tweeted a picture of the family's reunion. Pic: @trussliz
Image: The foreign secretary tweeted a picture of the family being reunited. Pic: @trussliz

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, speaking at the Oxfordshire RAF base, said she wasn't sure the pair would actually be released "until the last minute".

Long-running efforts to free the Britons finally paid off yesterday when Ms Truss confirmed they were heading home.

The breakthrough came after Britain paid £393.8m to settle a debt related to a tank order placed by Iran in the late 1970s.

Anoosheh Ashoori was reunited with his family after five years
Image: After five years, Anoosheh Ashoori was reunited with his family

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard fought a high-profile campaign to free her, which included a hunger strike and a relentless publicity campaign.

Hopes the 43-year-old's release could be near had been dashed on several occasions in the past, leading to her suffering depression and hair loss.

Richard Ratcliffe said on Tuesday that he was "so relieved" his wife was coming home so they "start being a normal family again".

He said she would probably want him to make her a cup of tea and tidy the house.

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Truss: We weren't sure about release until 'the last minute'

Mr Ashoori's family also fought hard for his release, and his daughter told Sky News before he landed: "We have been waiting for this moment for about five years now and my dad has not seen the light of day for that long...

"Tonight we're happy that he will be reunited with us and finally be able to sleep in a comfortable bed."

Another British-Iranian, Morad Tahbaz, has also been released from prison on furlough.

The foreign secretary said the government would continue to work on his "long overdue" permanent release.