Liz Truss has confirmed in the House of Commons that the UK has paid its £393.8m debt to Iran to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, after six years in a Tehran prison.
Fellow British-Iranian dual national Anousheh Ashouri was also freed after almost five years imprisonment, while Morad Tahbaz has been released “on furlough” and remains in Tehran.
Truss said the UK has negotiated to ensure that all money given to Iran would be used for humanitarian purposes, meaning it will not fall foul of US sanctions on the country.
The trio were falsely imprisoned by Iranian authorities on trumped up charges.
“Their suffering has moved us all and so does the prospect of being reunited with loved ones once again after this long and cruel separation,” Truss told MPs.
“They have been through an appalling ordeal, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be without my family, my mother, for so long and we must give the families the privacy they deserve.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe said “it’s going to be the beginning of a new life”.
“Ours has been a cruel experience in some ways, but it’s also been an exposure to such a level of kindness and care,” he said.
“This will be a chapter in our lives, but there are many more chapters to come.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashouri have left Iran and have arrived in Oman via plane, with Labour MP Tulip Siddiq tweeting a photo of Zaghari-Ratcliffe on the flight.
Tahbaz has been released to his family in Tehran and the government is trying to organise his full release.
More to follow