By Lea Fabbrini
A British-Iranian national might be facing an addition five years to her existing five-year prison sentence in Iran after Boris Johnson’s remarks.
The foreign secretary told the foreign affairs committee that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists in Iran.
In October, Tehran’s prosecutor general said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held because she delivered a “BBC Persian online journalism course which aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against the regime.”
Since she was arrested in April 2016 Her defence has always been that she was there on holiday, claiming to have travelled to Iran to show her daughter, Gabriella, to her parents.
Johnson’s statement says otherwise and is being used in court as evidence, leading to an additional charge to her sentence.
Both Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and her employer, the Thomas Reuter Foundation, say this statement is untrue. The Charitable arm of the news agency call for Johnson to rectify his statement and the foreign secretary claims he is planning to call his Iranian counterpart to do so.
Boris Johnson is now being accused of not caring about the details by the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry. She says his comments show “a fundamental lack of interest or concern for the details of Nazanin’s case and the consequences of your words” and asks him to ‘consider (his) position accordingly’ and to ‘take full responsibility for that, in both a moral and political sense’.