Boris Johnson admits to mistake over jailed Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

PUBLISHED: 12:48 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 07 November 2017

Boris Johnson is being urged to reunite the Ratcliffe family for Christmas.  Picture: RICHARD RATCLIFFE

Boris Johnson is being urged to reunite the Ratcliffe family for Christmas. Picture: RICHARD RATCLIFFE


Boris Johnson was forced to admit he “could have been clearer” when he told a group of MPs British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists in Iran when she was arrested.

In a call this morning the foreign secretary told his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, remarks he made to the foreign affairs select committee – considered by some to have provoked Iranian authorities to drag a trembling Nazanin back to court and threaten to double her five year sentence – could not be used to justify further action against her.

Following the British foreign secreatry’s remarks Nazanin was escorted from her prison cell to court where she was told she faced new charges of plotting against Iran based on the same evidence used in her August 2016 trial.

Nazanin is now at risk of spending another five years in a prison cell.

A foreign office spokeswoman said: “The Foreign Secretary accepts his remarks to the committee could have been clearer,” before saying the former Mayor of London would appear in Parliament later today.

The spokeswoman said Mr Johnson’s comment Nazanin was training reporters – when in fact she was visiting family with her three-year-old daughter Gabriella – was a condemnation of Iran’s view educating journalists was a crime and did not show he believed Iranian allegations Nazanin had been engaged in such activity.

The spokeswoman added: “The Foreign Secretary expressed concern at the suggestion from the Iranian Judiciary High Council for Human Rights that his remarks last week ‘shed new light’ on the case.

“Mr Johnson said this was absolutely not true. It was clear, as it always had been, that Mrs Zaghari Ratcliffe had been in Iran on holiday when arrested,” she said.

But Mr Zarif is reported to have said recent developments – which saw Nazanin appear in front of hard-line judge Abolqasem Salavati on Saturday – were “unrelated” to Boris Johnson’s remarks and he “remained committed” to finding a solution to the charity worker’s case.

Mr Johnson – who came under fire after last week’s appearance in Parliament – is said to have shared his anxiety about Nazanin and her family’s “continued suffering” with Mr Zarif setting out his aim to visit the republic before the end of the year to discuss the Hampstead mum’s case.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

54 minutes ago

An innocent father-of-two has been wrongly branded a terrorist after armed anti-terror police stormed his flat in a mistaken raid.

55 minutes ago

In his own words, father-of-two Garcia Diabaca, 31, tells of the terrifying moment when armed terror cops burst into his bedroom during a botched raid. They were at the wrong address and had the wrong man, but the consequences for the supermarket worker have been far reaching.

Yesterday, 17:35

Every Sunday from this weekend until September will see an exciting free musical performance at the Regent’s Park bandstand.

Yesterday, 15:52

In a new weekly feature, we speak to the people behind some of Hampstead and Highgate’s best small businesses. This week, we spoke to two photographers helping youngsters get behind the camera.

Yesterday, 15:25

Hundreds attended Highgate’s annual Fair in the Square at the weekend, sponsored by the Ham&High.

Yesterday, 13:46

Adam Solomons speaks to those commemorating the German philosopher.

Yesterday, 11:49

After months of delays, disruption and the dreaded rail replacement bus, commutes are finally set to get better for London Overground passengers.

Yesterday, 10:20

The families of two graffiti artists from Muswell Hill and Hampstead who were killed at Loughborough Junction station on Monday, have paid tribute to them.


Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Preparing your child in advance for school will go a long way towards ensuring the very best start for your child.

After over 50 years in the acting industry, and a decade of unprecedented success delivering outstanding part-time performing arts tuition at her weekend Academies across the country, Pauline Quirke returns to her roots to create even more opportunities for young performers in North London.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now