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Husband Of Jailed U.K.-Iranian Woman Says Temporary Release Extended In Tehran

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured after her temporary release from Iranian custody.

The husband of the jailed British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says his wife has had her temporary release extended for another two weeks by the Iranian government.

“Nazanin's father got told today that it has been extended until Saturday, April 18, an extra two weeks," husband Richard Ratcliffe told AFP in an e-mail on March 28.

He added that the news had brought "a lot of relief in our house."

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, currently on leave from Evin Prison at her parents' house in the Iranian capital, had been due to return to custody on April 4.

Her husband had previously said she was required to wear an ankle bracelet and to remain within 300 meters of her parents' home.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since April 2016. In September 2016, she was sentenced to 5 years in prison for allegedly "plotting to topple the Iranian government." She denied the charges, as did her employer and the British government.

On March 17, her husband said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was among up to 80,000 prisoners temporarily released by the Iranian government -- a measure that authorities said was meant to help curb the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani on March 24 said that the "government's coronavirus crisis team has decided to extend [the overall prisoner] parole from April 3 to April 19," adding that it could be extended again if the situation requires.

Iran is the hardest-hit country in the Middle East by the coronavirus pandemic. As of March 28, it has reported more than 25,000 cases of infections and 2,517 deaths. However, experts warn that ascertaining an accurate number of cases anywhere in the world is impossible because of the lack of testing.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 after visiting relatives in Iran with her young daughter.

She worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the time.

Britain has demanded her release and that of other dual nationals imprisoned in Iran. Tehran does not recognize dual citizenship.

Former British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote in a tweet that the latest development was "a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness."

"Let's pray that this remarkable family are reunited soon," he added.

With reporting by AFP, the BBC, and dpa