Johnson to meet husband of aid worker jailed in Iran

15 November, 2017, 12:53 | Author: Wade Massey
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Also attending the meeting at the foreign and commonwealth office in London will be Middle East minister Alistair Burt, who has met Mr Ratcliffe before and visited Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family in Tehran, and FCO consular officials who have been providing support to the family.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is to meet the husband of a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran later.

Johnson apologised after he recently suggested Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists while in Iran, comments that led Iranian authorities to threaten to double her five-year jail sentence.

It said Johnson had sought advice from officials on whether conferring the status of diplomatic protection could help, "including what impact it would have on the support now being provided and the representations already being made on Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's behalf". I do apologise, and of course I retract any suggestion that she was there in a professional capacity'.

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife is "on the verge of a nervous breakdown" and angry at the Foreign Secretary for allowing the situation to become "a shambles".

A Foreign Office statement said the pair will meet to discuss Mr Ratcliffe's request to give his wife "diplomatic protection" - which, under global law, allows a state to take diplomatic action on behalf of a national.

Her family have always maintained she was on holiday with her daughter.

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Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 as she tried to leave Tehran with her young daughter Gabriella following a trip to see family in Iran.

There have been calls for Johnson to quit in the wake of the gaffe, but Ratcliffe said he should stay and clean up his mess.

Mr Ratcliffe and Mr Johnson will also discuss her health and the foreign secretary's plan to travel to Iran before the end of the year.

Mr Johnson has sought advice from officials to determine whether conferring the status could help, including what impact it would have on the support now being provided and the representations already being made on Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's behalf.

Ratcliffe will meet Johnson and his consular specialists at the Foreign Office on Wednesday.

There are concerns within the Foreign Office that Ratcliffe might still be arrested by the Iranian police, even if he is accompanying Johnson.

The family's local MP Tulip Siddiq told Sky News that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had sobbed inconsolably during an earlier phone call with her husband, saying: 'She just said that she couldn't believe that Boris Johnson would make those comments.

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