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Jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'angry' that Boris Johnson 'endangered her life'

Jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'angry' that Boris Johnson 'endangered her life'

Liz Bates

3 min read

British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is said to be in disbelief that Boris Johnson’s comments could “endanger her life,” and is "angry" after seeing footage of the Foreign Secretary's remarks about her. 

According to her husband, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe “expressed anger,” over comments made by Boris Johnson, which could see her imprisoned in Iran for an extra 5 years.

The British citizen has been locked up without charge over allegations she was spying – but insists she was on holiday at the time.

Iranian authorities moved to increase her prison sentence from five to ten years after the Foreign Secretary told MPs she had been “simply teaching journalism.”

In a statement, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said that in a phone conversation “(Nazanin) expressed anger at [Iran’s Revolutionary Guards] but also at the Foreign Secretary, that it had become such a shambles.

“Anger at the original comments, angry at the footage of avoiding the question.”

Speaking to Sky News last night, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP Tulip Siddiq said that she was "inconsolable," and felt like she was “on the verge of a nervous breakdown” amid mounting fears over her health and state of mind.  

Ms Siddiq added Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe "couldn't believe [Mr Johnson] could make comments that would endanger her life," saying there was growing concern around her health, with her family reporting that doctors have found lumps on her breasts.

The Foreign Secretary’s blunder prompted calls for him to step down, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday telling the Observer he was "undermining our country" and "putting our citizens at risk"

But Mr Ratcliffe stressed that Mr Johnson’s resignation was not in the best interests of his wife.

He said: “So that this is clear – for the media, Government and particularly for authorities in Iran – as Nazanin’s husband, I do not believe it is in Nazanin’s interests for there to be any resignations.”

This follows a shock intervention from Michael Gove yesterday, when he said he didn’t know what she was doing in Iran when she was arrested, as he attempted to deflect criticism away from Mr Johnson.

Asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show what she was doing in the country when she was first arrested 18 months ago, the Environment Secretary replied: “I don’t know.”

He continued: "There is an effort, somehow to shift attention and direction away from who is really at fault here.

"It is the Iranian regime. They are the people who jailed Nazanin, they are the people on whom our focus should light.”

Labour seized on Mr Gove’s remarks, with shadow minister Jon Trickett saying he "was more interested in protecting Johnson's job" than Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's freedom.

He added that the comments had "compounded" the Foreign Secretary's "cavalier approach to international diplomacy".

Mr Johnson has since withdrawn the remark about training journalists but refused to apologise, and suggested Tehran had misinterpreted what he said.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband today, which Mr Ratcliffe described as a "positive" conversation in which he had pushed for the pair to travel to Iran together. 

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Today programme, he added that he considered Mr Gove's words to be politically motivated and said he had written to the Foreign Office to confirm the Government's position. 

Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum


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