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

59 minutes ago

A murder investigation has been launched after a man in his mid-20s was stabbed to death in Tufnell Park last night.

Yesterday, 16:03

A man has appeared in court over a hit and run crash which killed Camden man Richard Dougherty last month.

Yesterday, 10:26

“Today’s ruling [...] focuses on procedure rather than the merits of the scheme.”

Yesterday, 10:24

A cycling campaigner has blamed CS11’s legal defeat on Transport for London’s “watering down” of the project – and said it is time for London mayor Sadiq Khan to “improve his politics game”.

Yesterday, 09:18

Westminster North MP Karen Buck joined parents and children to protest the sudden closure of Queen’s Park Nursery.

Yesterday, 08:07

Campaigners from Greenpeace staged a protest outside the Camden High Street Marks and Spencer on Saturday to urge the high street giant to crack down on its use of single-use plastic.

Mon, 17:33

Senior coroner Mary Hassell has today unveiled the new policy that will dictate how her office decides which deaths to deal with first.

Mon, 15:24

The Luna Cinema was back in Alexandra Palace park this weekend and crowds enjoyed special screenings of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Breakfast Club.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

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.

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