Detained British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe requests meeting with Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
8th November 2017

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian mother currently being held in an Iranian prison, has asked to meet with Boris Johnson amid scathing criticism of his handling of her case.

Boris Johnson has been under fire following his remarks at a committee last week
PA Images

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told by the Iranian authorities she could see her sentence doubled after the Foreign Secretary wrongly told a Commons committee last week she was "simply teaching people journalism" when she was detained in the country 18 months ago.

MPs yesterday rounded on Mr Johnson after he refused to apologise for the major gaffe, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry calling on him to resign.

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Earlier in the day he spoke with his Iranian counterpart in a bid to reaffirm that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had in fact been on holiday at the time of her arrest.

Mr Johnson later told MPs that he would try and meet with the mother-of-one on his next visit to the country, who he has not met since her arrest in April 2016.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of the detainee previously said he believed Mr Johnson’s comments had led to the Iranian court’s decision to up her sentence, but said his wife would like to meet the Foreign Secretary on his next visit to Iran.

 “We’ve never met [Johnson],” Richard Ratcliffe told the Guardian. “We’ve long had that as a request to meet with the Foreign Secretary and for instance, last week Tulip Siddiq [the family’s MP] met with him and I wasn’t allowed to attend, it was only the MPs.”

In addressing the Commons yesterday, he repeatedly refused to give a direct and unequivocal apology, only saying he was "sorry if any words of mine have been so taken out of context or misconstrued".

In attempting to explain his remarks to committee, Mr Johnson said: “My point was I disagreed with the Iranian view that training journalists was a crime, not that I lent any credence to Iranian allegations that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been engaged in such activity.”

However Ms Siddiq accused Mr Johnson of repeating Iranian “lies”.

“It is not enough for the Foreign Secretary not to know the basic details of this case, it is unforgivable to repeat the lies of the Iranian revolutionary guard," she said.

“'I should have been clearer' does not cut it when it comes to a matter of life and death."