Boris Johnson finally apologises for causing 'further anguish' to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has been jailed in Iran

Boris Johnson has apologised for the "distress" he has caused Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family after he suggested that she was in Iran to train journalists rather than on holiday. "There's a history of British diplomats going to Iran, visiting the very prison that Nazanin is in and not getting to meet her".

During a House of Commons grilling, Mr Johnson told MPs: "The British Government has no doubt Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran on holiday and that was the sole objective of her visit".

"It's hard to imagine such a mistake being made by an FCO official but, even if it were, the buck stops with the Foreign Secretary", said Mr Penman.

Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, wife of Farnham's Richard Ratcliffe, has been held in Tehran since her arrest by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in April 2016.

Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper said: "The foreign secretary has rightly and welcomingly said that the priority of everyone should be the return of a wrongly and inhumanely imprisoned mother who has been separated from her child".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove came under fire after appearing to cast doubt over her actions in the run up to her arrest.

Iranian state TV seized on his comments as an "unintended confession", prompting fears that his comments were being used by the Iranian authorities to justify her continued imprisonment.


Mr Gove, a one-time ally and friend of the Foreign Secretary, tried to shift attention away from the handling of the case, claiming there was an "effort" to blame Mr Johnson.

Asked what she was doing in Iran, Mr Gove told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "I don't know".

He believes Johnson "should go to bed at night worrying about [the Zaghari-Ratcliffe] case" but instead "I think he's got his eyes on whether he's going to be Prime Minister or whether he's going to be sacked".

"One of the things I want to stress is, there is no reason why Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe should be in prison in Iran, so far as any of us know".

He doesn't believe Johnson "read the papers properly" before his comments on Zaghari-Ratcliffe and afterwards "he should have said "look, I'm really sorry" and confirmed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe visited Iran on holiday, as she has always claimed.

Bryant, a former foreign office minister, told Julia that Theresa May is like "the hostage here" because she's "so weak that she can't deal with" the chaos in her government, and "Boris Johnson is trying to release her so that he can get her job".

"The fault, of course, is with the Iranians, but the primary duty of all government is to protect its citizens and keep us safe, especially your Foreign Secretary".

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