By Karim El-Bar
LONDON (AA) - Iran extended the temporary leave of a British-Iranian national imprisoned in the country, her husband said on Sunday.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's short-term prison release from Tehran's Evin prison as of March 17 was extended by two weeks, running until April 18.
Nazanin's was part of a wider prisoner release in Iran due to the coronavirus outbreak that has hit the country harder than most others, with over 2,200 deaths and 29,000 confirmed cases.
Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said his wife's case had now been put forward to the Iranian prosecutor-general for clemency.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: "I spoke to her yesterday and her mood was pretty upbeat. Her dad has been down to the prosecutor's office and got told her furlough has been extended for a couple of weeks so huge relief for her, huge relief for all of us."
"It's a first step forward and we'll see where it goes from here," he said. "I suspect it will need the approval of the supreme leader's [Ali Khamenei] office."
"We've been here before, thinking we are on the precipice of freedom. I think with Iran, things can go quite opaque and obscure and you need to keep pushing, so we'll see what happens, and we'll see what's being said.
"I don't think it's going to be easy to tell if she's out any time soon," he said. "My expectation is it's baby steps to freedom."
Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: "A glimmer of hope amidst the darkness. Let's pray that this remarkable family are reunited soon."
Nazanin has been staying with her parents at their home in Tehran. She is under house arrest, and forced to wear an ankle tag and is only allowed to move within 300 meters of her family home.
She was arrested in April 2016 at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport with her daughter Gabriella. She was in Iran to introduce her young daughter to her family. Gabriella has since returned to the U.K.
Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016 for plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, a charge she denies.