The family of a jailed British mother says a delay in her court case signals a “ripple of freedom” that may change the tide.
The case was postponed in the wake of Boris Johnson’s visit to Iran.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is British-Iranian, said the latest news brought “some light at the end of the tunnel”.
She added: “The court, the imprisonment emerged all of a sudden out of the blue, so I hope it can disappear out of the blue also if there is enough will.”
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at the airport in Tehran after visiting her family with her daughter in 2016.
She is now serving five years in prison after being charged with planning to topple the Iranian government, which she denies.
She was due in court on Sunday to face extra charges of spreading propaganda, which could add 16 years onto her sentence.
The charges came when Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he understood she had been “training journalists” on her visit. He later apologised for the comment.
Her family has maintained she was on holiday when she was arrested.
Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the delay was a “good sign”, and told Sky News he was “very optimistic”.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “Nazanin’s court case was not held today in the wake of the Foreign Secretary’s visit. This is undoubtedly a good sign.
“This weekend we had our first ripple of freedom, with the postponement of Nazanin’s new court case. Of course who knows what lies ahead, the past 20 months have had plenty of false turns but my hope is that the ripple in the days ahead might become a full change of tide.
“My hope today is as Nazanin once wrote: Freedom feels one day closer, that Christmas dream remains.
“A month ago I was cursing the Foreign Secretary but he promised when he met that he would do his best for Nazanin and to date he has been as good as his word.”
Mr Ratcliffe confirmed Mr Johnson had met her family in Iran on Saturday night, and would be debriefing him when he returns on Monday or Tuesday.
Mr Johnson was in Iran on Saturday and Sunday, meeting with his counterpart and the President, to discuss “consular cases of dual nationality”. He was expected to make the case for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release, though she was not named specifically by the Foreign Office.
Mr Johnson’s visit is the first of a Foreign Secretary to Iran since 2015, and only the third since 2003. It was deemed “worthwhile”, in a statement released on Saturday.
In a statement, the Free Nazanin campaign confirmed Mr Johnson had spoken to the family to update them after he met with the leaders in Iran and called the news a “happy development”.
The campaign statement read: “The family discussed with him the latest on Nazanin’s physical and mental health, and also the impact on Gabriella of growing up away from both her parents. They also discussed their conversations with the authorities, and some of their experiences over the past 20 months.
“They also expressed their hopes from his visit their hopes that with his help the family can be reunited, and Gabriella can grow up with her parents.”