He said his wife had seen media coverage about her temporary release, and was pleased to see the Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom had tweeted a picture of mother and daughter as they were reunited.
Mr Ratcliffe said her lawyer had been initially confident that his appeal for an extension to the release would be granted.
In a heartfelt bid to have the decision reversed, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe reportedly said: "How can you take me away from my baby, when she needs me?"
"It was a lovely couple of days being with her and all the family were out together, that was lovely and it was a three day release".
"Normally though, if you get three days that usually gets extended, all those who went out at the same time as her had their visits extended".
He said their daughter Gabriella, who has been staying with family in Iran, cried when she realised her mother was leaving.
A tweet on the official "Free Nazanin" Twitter account said: "We have just heard the sad news that Nazanin's extension has been refused and she has returned to prison".
Her case took a turn for the worse after the Iranian regime pounced on remarks made a year ago by then foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who said she had been training journalists.
Agence-France Presse (AFP) quoted her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, saying she was shivering, shaking and crying when the deputy prosecutor told her earlier in the day that she had to be separated from her daughter again. Her husband has been campaigning ever since to secure her release.
Boris Johnson provoked consternation in November a year ago when he told MPs that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been "training journalists" in Iran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was born in Iran, is married to a British man and has dual British and Iranian citizenship.
The then-foreign secretary later stated in the Commons that he had "no doubt" she was on holiday and had called Tehran to clarify after the Iranian authorities moved to double her sentence.