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Principale » Johnson under renewed pressure over Zaghari-Ratcliffe gaffe

Johnson under renewed pressure over Zaghari-Ratcliffe gaffe

09 Novembre 2017

Johnson has already been forced to correct remarks he made to a British parliamentary committee last week, when he said that Nazanin Zagahri-Ratcliffe, who has been in jail since she was detained at Tehran airport in April 2016, had been teaching journalism during her visit to the country.

Boris Johnson dodged questions today about jailed British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after Iranian state TV reported that the Foreign Secretary had accidentally confessed she was training journalists in Iran prior to her arrest.

Responding to the Iranian TV report, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's local MP, Labour's Tulip Siddiq, added to her criticism of Mr Johnson.

The Foreign Secretary refused to refer to Zaghari-Ratcliffe by name today when ambushed by reporters during an official trip to Washington DC - merely saying his department had "some hard cases" that it was working on with Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned whilst on holiday with her family.

"The Foreign Secretary concluded by emphasizing that his remarks could form no justifiable basis for further action in this case and urged the Iranian authorities to release Mrs Zaghari Ratcliffe on humanitarian grounds".

However, according to BBC Persia correspondent Hadi Nili, new footage from Iranian state television shows that Johnson's words continue to be used against her, with his comments being described as an "unintended confession of the United Kingdom government about the real plot" behind her trip and "proof" of the allegations against her.

Most people referred to anti-terrorism programme came from schools and colleges
In the past, the government's Prevent programme has been accused of being "toxic" and unfairly focusing on the Muslim community. A 47-year old man who had been an active member of far-right groups and an "avid collector" of Nazi memorabilia and literature.

Mr Johnson later told parliament that he would seek to visit her in prison on his visit to Iran.

Iran was accused of taking advantage of Mr Johnson's blunder to potentially extend Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's detention.

Earlier this week, the head of the Thomson Reuters Foundation rejected the allegations and instead urged Johnson to meet with her.

It added: "Assurances given this week do not look sufficient".

The statement made it clear the government should not be denying the gravity of the situation or any abuse which could be meted out on Nazanin by the Iranian authorities. "The government's first duty - both governments' first duty - is to protect its citizens". Since then, she has spent most of her time in Evin prison in Tehran while Gabriella (3) has been in the care of her mother's Iranian family.

Iranian state television has cited his erroneous statement about her as "an inadvertent confession" that she was spying in Iran. "It was clear, as it always had been, that Mrs. Zaghari Ratcliffe had been in Iran on holiday when arrested". He added that Iran had reneged on a promise to allow him to visit his jailed wife, despite him travelling to NY in September and hand-delivering a letter to Mr Zarif who was attending the United Nations General Assembly.

According to accounts of lawyers, diplomats and relatives, most individuals are being held on espionage charges. Dual nationals are not recognised by Iran, do not receive consular assistance and often face secret charges in closed-door hearings.

Johnson under renewed pressure over Zaghari-Ratcliffe gaffe