Despite all she has been through, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was composed, articulate and dignified – but her poise should not be misunderstood.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference in London© PA Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference in LondonThis is a woman who feels wronged – not just by the Iranian authorities who imprisoned her, but by the UK ministers who have been responsible for her case over the last six years.

Her husband Richard, who has campaigned tirelessly, did thank the current foreign secretary, Liz Truss, but Nazanin could not quite bring herself to do the same.

When I asked her about the six years she had missed with her husband and daughter, she looked over to seven-year-old daughter Gabriella sitting in the front row, her expression one of both love and regret.

When I asked if she felt angry, she spoke of how there had been a “black hole” in her heart that she had resolved to leave on the plane in which she returned. “I am not going to live with a grudge. It has been cruel,” she said.

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‘I shouldn’t have been in prison six years’


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But nobody who listened to that news conference will conclude that anger has been left behind – no matter how masterfully it was controlled.

Read more: What we know about the deal that secured Nazanin’s freedom

Six years of her life have been lost to a nightmare. During that time, her baby daughter – not two when they were separated – has become a nearly eight-year-old girl. And as far as Nazanin is concerned, it could have been resolved six years ago if UK government ministers had acted differently. It is an enormous thing to live with.

“I think the anger will probably come,” Tulip Siddiq told me. As Nazanin’s local MP, Ms Siddiq has been one of the most vocal campaigners for her case.

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“The chapter is closed in terms of my constituent being home, that’s fine, but I owe it to Nazanin to look into why it took so long,” she told me.

According to Tulip Siddiq, Nazanin was told as early as the second week of her imprisonment she would be released if the UK settled a 40-year-old debt over an undelivered order of tanks and armoured vehicles.

That was finally paid last week in the form of a fund that can only be used for humanitarian purposes and does not breach economic sanctions currently imposed on Iran.

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“She said to me the minute the debt was paid she was home. They were just pushing her out of the door,” said Ms Siddiq.

Ministers insist it was far more complicated than that. They argue it required years of complex diplomatic efforts to secure Nazanin’s release in parallel with the debt issue rather than as an exchange.

But most of us would forgive the person who has just been through six years of hell raising an eyebrow at that explanation.

And beyond an inquiry into what went wrong in her case, Nazanin said she would not rest until other dual nationals – including Morad Tahbaz – who remain in Iran are released.

“There are so many other people in prison who have been there longer. Every person has the right to be free. Freedom is something that has to be given. The world should unite together to make sure no-one is held hostage in prison,” she said.

If ministers felt the pressure over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment over the last six years, today she put down a marker that she has no intention of letting the pressure off now that she is home.