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Husband of woman jailed in Iran says Boris Johnson has not done enough to secure her release

The case sparked a political firestorm when Boris Johnson told a parliamentary committee she was in Iran “training journalists”.

Jailed British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella.
Jailed British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE HUSBAND OF Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran, has accused UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of “not doing enough” to secure her release and urged Prime Minister Theresa May to act.

Speaking ahead of the second anniversary of her arrest tomorrow, Richard Ratcliffe said:

“Nazanin is still in prison, so in simple terms, the foreign secretary has not done enough.

“The prime minister is more important, and just as we were pushing to meet the foreign secretary, at some point, if that is not enough, we have to push up another level and that’s the prime minister.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organisation’s philanthropic arm — was arrested at Tehran airport on 3 April 2016.

She is serving a five-year jail sentence for alleged sedition — charges she has always denied.

The couple’s young daughter, Gabriella, was in Iran with her mother at the time of her detention and has remained there in the care of relatives.

Boris Johnson

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case sparked a political firestorm in Britain after foreign secretary Boris Johnson told a parliamentary committee she was in Iran “training journalists”.

Her family insists she was in the country on holiday, and the foreign secretary later clarified to lawmakers that Britain also believes this. A chorus of opposition politicians called on Johnson to resign over the error.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Source: PA Wire/PA Images

After the initial comments, the Iranian judiciary issued an online article saying Johnson’s remarks proved Zaghari-Ratcliffe was not on holiday, and therefore backed up the justification for new charges.

Following his controversial comments, Ratcliffe confirmed he received a “positive” phone call from Johnson.

In early December, Johnson held talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Iran. At the time, he said:

I will stress my grave concerns about our dual national consular cases and press for their release where there are humanitarian grounds to do so.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained A photo of Richard Ratcliffe and his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been jailed in Iran, on display at their home in north London. Source: John Stillwell

However, today MP Tulip Siddiq said she believed Richard Ratcliffe had been given false hope by the Foreign Office in the run-up to Boris Johnson’s visit to Iran late last year.

Ratcliffe insisted that “the ball is absolutely in the (British) government’s court”.

He added that the head of the prison where his wife is being held had told her, “I approved your release many months ago”.

Ratcliffe believes her release is being held up by a battle over interest that Britain owes over a historic arms deal that went sour following the Iranian revolution of 1979.

© AFP 2018

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