Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell support hunger-striking husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

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·TV Reporter
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Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell as they meet and talk to Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, outside the Foreign Office in London, during his continued hunger strike following his wife losing her latest appeal in Iran. Picture date: Monday November 8, 2021.
Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell are supporting Richard Ratcliffe. (PA)

Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell have pledged their support to Richard Ratcliffe again for his hunger strike in protest at his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe being detained in Iran since 2016.

The Strictly Come Dancing and Only Connect presenters had already backed Ratcliffe with a visit to his protest outside of the Foreign Office and returned on Monday (8 November), with Coren Mitchell saying she admired his determination "beyond words".

Read more: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband 'looking and feeling rougher' in hunger strike protest

She tweeted: "Day 16. I'll be honest, I'm praying Richard will go home soon. But I totally understand why he feels he can't. I admire his determination beyond words. Still, I'm hoping someone powerful will stand up and say: 'It's OK Richard. We're on it. We'll take it from here.' #FreeNazanin"

On Sunday she had tweeted: "Richard Ratcliffe is exhausted, freezing and he hasn't eaten for 15 days. @ClaudiaWinkle and I are going back to see him tomorrow. If you're nearby and would like to join us to express love and support, we'll be at the FCDO building, King Charles Street, SW1A 2AH at 11am. #Family"

The TV presenters had previously visited Ratcliffe a week earlier on Monday, 1 November when they offered their support and encouraged others in London to do the same.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Richard Ratcliffe protests outside the Foreign Office while on hunger strike, part of an effort to lobby the UK foreign secretary to bring his wife home from detention in Iran, on October 25, 2021 in London, England. Mr Ratcliffe's wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is a British-Iranian national who was arrested in Iran in 2016 and served a 5-year prison sentence on spying charges, which she and her family have denied. She was recently sentenced to an additional year in prison. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Richard Ratcliffe protests outside the Foreign Office while on hunger strike (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

After their visit last week, Coren Mitchell tweeted: "We went to see Richard Ratcliffe on day 9 of his hunger strike. The ongoing torment of this innocent family is a failure of British democracy in its core aim: to protect its citizens. Nazanin must come home. How on earth will we reverse climate change if we can’t even fix this?"

Ratcliffe is currently on day 16 of his latest hunger strike to put pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to meet the Iranian delegate at Cop26 to demand the freedom of Britons detained in Evin prison - including his wife.

Victoria Coren Mitchell and Claudia Winkleman arrive to meet Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, outside the Foreign Office in London, during his continued hunger strike following his wife losing her latest appeal in Iran. Picture date: Monday November 8, 2021.
Victoria Coren Mitchell and Claudia Winkleman have been supporting Richard Ratcliffe in his protest. (PA)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is British-Iranian, had been visiting family in Iran with the couple's daughter Gabriella in 2016 when she was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Read more: A timeline of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's arrest and sentence in Iran

Her husband is continuing his protest outside of the Foreign Office, where he is calling on Johnson to demand the freedom of British citizens being held in Iran and to repay a £400 million debt incurred by the UK failing to deliver Chieftain tanks ordered by the Shah of Iran before he was overthrown in 1979, which he says is being used to hold his wife "hostage".

Ratcliffe, whose daughter Gabriella was returned to the UK after her mother's arrest, told Good Morning Britain: "I’m definitely looking rougher and feeling rougher. I don’t feel hungry but I do feel the cold more. It’s a short-term tactic. You can’t take it too long or you end up in a coma."

Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell arrive to meet Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, outside the Foreign Office in London, during his continued hunger strike following his wife losing her latest appeal in Iran. Picture date: Monday November 8, 2021.
Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell spoke to Richard Ratcliffe about his efforts to bring wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home. (PA)

He added: "At this point I will have to start listening to my body. Over the weekend I spent most of the day sitting down. The batteries were really flat.

"One of the things with a hunger strike is you get more stubborn the longer things go on, so you become less able to flexibly let go."

Watch: Husband of Brit detained in Iran goes on hunger strike again

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