Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has appeared in an Iranian court on a new charge of “propaganda against Iran”, her lawyer has said.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe “was fine and calm at the court session” on Sunday and “the trial was held in a calm atmosphere”, Hojjat Kermani said.

“The final defence was taken. Legally, the court should announce the verdict in a week but it is up to the judge. I am very hopeful that she will be acquitted,” he added.

That account was confirmed by her local MP Tulip Siddiq, who tweeted: “No verdict was given but it should be delivered within a week,” although Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin’s husband, said he thought the verdict would more likely be two or three weeks, given the Iranian new year holiday.

He described the latest court hearing as coming at the end of a “long ordeal” and said he would be “very surprised” if his wife was acquitted.

He added: “We have had some ups and downs – often on the same day.

“Sometimes there are very bleak moments but we are lifted through those moments by the people are around us.

“But until she is home I don’t think we will rest.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released from house arrest and had her ankle tag removed last weekend after a five-year prison term expired.

But she has been unable to return to the UK to be reunited with her husband and young daughter and was told to return to court to face other charges.

The British-Iranian was arrested at a Tehran airport while taking her infant daughter to see her parents in April 2016.

The 42-year-old was later jailed over disputed allegations she was plotting to overthrow Iran’s government.

Her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity, deny the allegation.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was allowed to move to her parents’ home a year ago due to the coronavirus threat in the notorious Evin prison.

She was under house arrest and had been wearing a tracker tag that limited her to 300m (984ft) from their Tehran flat.

She can now move around, as long as she does not leave Iran.

Asked after her latest court appearance whether she could leave the country, her lawyer said: “I don’t know about her travel ban situation.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “unacceptable and unjustifiable” that Iran has chosen to continue with this second, “wholly arbitrary”, case against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

“The Iranian government has deliberately put her through a cruel and inhumane ordeal,” he said.

“Nazanin must be allowed to return to her family in the UK without further delay. We continue to do all we can to support her.”

Mr Ratcliffe welcomed the comments but he said he thought there was more the government could do.

He had asked that the British ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire apply to the authorities for permission to accompany his wife to court for the latest hearing – but he said that did not happen.

“I think that would have sent an important signal – that she had the UK’s protection… and I do think there are still things they can still do to make it clear to Iran that it’s not acceptable for this treatment to continue.

“But, for all that, I welcome the strength of the foreign secretary’s language.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also weighed in on the issue. He demanded in a call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe be released immediately.

Iranian media reported that during the call, Rouhani raised the issue of a £400m historical debt which Tehran says Britain owes the Islamic Republic in capital and interest for a 1970s arms deal with the then-Shah of Iran.

(c) Sky News 2021: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appears in Iranian court to face new charge of ‘propaganda against Iran’

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