THE prime minister has called for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during a phone call with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her daughter were apprehended in April 2016 after visiting family in Iran to celebrate Nowruz – the Iranian new year.

Earlier this year, the charity worker for Reuters Thompson, the charitable arm of the news agency, had her appeal to a five year sentence rejected by the Iranian Revolutionary Court.

Yesterday prime minister Theresa May used the talk with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to call for British prisoners – including Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe – held in the country to be released on humanitarian grounds.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister raised the issue of consular cases relating to dual nationals currently held on charges in Iran and called for further progress to be made so individuals could be released on humanitarian grounds.”

Dialogue between the leaders comes after husband Richard Ratcliffe warned that his wife could be taken back to court “within a week or so”.

Mr Ratcliffe believes a case is being opened against her as foreign secretary Boris Johnson prepares to meet his French and German counterparts and EU high representative Federica Mogherini for talks on Iran in Brussels.

It comes after members of her family visited prosecutors for an update on her case, according to Mr Ratcliffe, who says she is being used as a “bargaining chip”.

He said she told him of the development in a 5.30am phone call on May 14.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sister-in-law, Cwmbran GP Rebecca Ratcliffe, said: “It’s devastating to find Nazanin facing new charges again. All the hopes from the foreign secretary’s visit in early December are slipping away. I cannot imagine how she is coping with these latest developments.

“We urge the foreign secretary to keep true to his promise and make Nazanin’s freedom a top priority when dealing with Iran over the next coming weeks or else her fragile health will surely suffer. Commercial interests must not rank higher than human rights. If Britain cannot keep its citizens safe then how can we continue to promote business in Iran?”