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Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran

British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran

Dave Penman, general secretary of the civil servants' union FDA, issued a stinging rebuke to the Foreign Secretary over reports suggesting it was Foreign Office officials who were responsible for Mr Johnson's mistakenly saying the jailed mother had been training journalists in Iran.

"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".

Mr Khan, who succeeded Mr Johnson as London mayor, told the Andrew Marr Show: "I think it's important that Boris Johnson clarifies the huge error he made because he's been prayed in aid by Iranian state TV and others to say because of what he said it's an admission on the part of the British Government as to what Nazanin's alleged to have done".

"Boris Johnson's cavalier approach to worldwide diplomacy is compounded this morning by Michael Gove claiming he has no idea what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran".

Mr Johnson told a Commons committee earlier this month that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "training journalists" in Iran at the time of her arrest a year ago.

Johnson's comments, made during a Commons committee meeting, were seized upon by Iranian state media as a "confession" but Gove has insisted it is the "extremists" in Iran who are to blame for her incarceration, not the carelessness of his Tory ally. "She was there on holiday". "I do apologise, and of course I retract any suggestion that she was there in a professional capacity".

The comments were used in Tehran to justify threats to extend her jail term.

Mr Gove was then told her husband's explanation for Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's visit.

"It's important that the Foreign Secretary stays to see it through and brings Nazanin home", he said.

"I'm pretty transparent about that".

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was hauled back in front of an Iranian court after Johnson's remarks and now faces 10 years in prison for additional charges.

Ahead of Mr Johnson's planned visit to Tehran in the next few weeks, she told Sky News: "Boris Johnson now has a mission and I want him to execute on his mission".

She also said she was "on the verge of a nervous breakdown", and has maintained that she was in Iran visiting family, not "teaching people journalism", as Johnson claims.

Mr Ratcliffe said he meant to ask Mr Johnson to put in place "diplomatic protection" for his wife.

Earlier on Monday Ratcliffe wrote that his wife "faces a longer sentence because of your [Johnson's] words", and that he should take responsibility for "prolonging" her suffering.

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