'Shock' and 'disbelief' after Iranian state TV news use Boris Johnson gaffe as evidence against Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
PUBLISHED: 14:03 09 November 2017
The family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spoken of its horror after an Iranian state TV news feature on her claimed a gaffe by Boris Johnson was confirmation the British-Iranian mother was in the country plotting against the regime.
Last night’s Channel 2 main evening news ran the five minute piece on Nazanin arguing Johnson’s remark the Hampstead mum was in Iran training reporters – when she was in fact visiting her parents – rendered worthless efforts to have her conviction thrown out.
The item concluded Johnson’s words were proof statements made by the British government and media about Nazanin’s purpose in going to the Middle-East country were false.
Johnson was forced to apologise for his slip up in Parliament on Tuesday facing a barrage of calls for his resignation from opposition MPs.
His appearance followed a remark made in front of the foreign affairs select committee during which he said Nazanin was in Iran training journalists.
In Tuesday’s appearance Johnson said he had intended the remark as criticism of Iran’s treatment of journalists.
Monique Villa, the boss of media firm Thomson Reuters where Nazanin worked as a project manager, has stated all along her employee was not working as a journalist.
From their home in Iran Nazanin’s parents watched the feature in horror and remain in shock according to her husband Richard Ratcliffe who had welcomed Johnson’s statement in Parliament on Tuesday clarifying the 38-year-old’s reason for visiting the Islamic Republic.
It has not yet been confirmed whether the dual-national saw the news but prisoners in Evin jail – where she is imprisoned – are allowed access to the Channel 2 programme with Nazanin usually watching every night.
Mr Ratcliffe is now demanding the British government protect his wife by allowing him to join Johnson when the former London mayor visits Iran later this year.
He also insisted the British Embassy write a translation into Farsi of the foreign secretary’s clarification and send it to Iranian media.
And Nazanin’s husband urged Iran’s foreign secretary Javad Zarif “to make good” on a promise to declare publicly Nazanin was on holiday when she was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) – a branch of the country’s army – in April last year.
Nazanin faces being dragged back to court for a second trial on the same charges she was accused of after she was first arrested. Her original five year jail sentence could be doubled if found guilty.