Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Boris Johnson 'endangered' Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's life

Boris Johnson 'endangered' Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's life

The foreign secretary told MPs: "Of course I apologise for the distress, for the suffering, that has been caused by the impression that I gave that I believed that she was there in a professional capacity".

Johnson refused requests to apologise for being wrong, saying only that he could have been "clearer" about the subject, adding that his comments were "open to being misinterpreted".

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

"Her husband said she was there on holiday, and her husband is the person who should know".

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Earlier this month, she was summoned back to court and threatened with further charges after Mr Johnson mistakenly told a Commons committee that she had been training journalists at the time of her arrest. He was very clear in what he said and he was wrong.

"The rest of the world turn round to us and they say 'why on earth would you have this man as your foreign secretary.' I mean, diplomacy is meant to be the heart and soul of the job, not wandering around the world playing around with your hair and trying to look affectionately like a member of Hogwarts".

He claimed there was an "effort to shift the blame away from those who are really at fault here, and that is the Iranian regime". "I think we make a big mistake if we think the right thing to do is to blame politicians in a democracy who are trying to do the right thing for the plight of a woman who has been imprisoned by a regime that is a serial abuser of human rights".

The Foreign Secretary incorrectly stated that the woman, a charity worker and a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), was "simply teaching people journalism" in Iran when she was arrested in 2016. "Who is in the dock here?"

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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.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said Theresa May must ensure Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe "does not pay the price for her ministers' bungling".

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Prime Minister Theresa May should fire Johnson for "embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk". He has urged Johnson to travel with him to Tehran to press for her release and said Sunday the foreign secretary was seriously considering the suggestion.

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