UK’s Johnson apologises for distress caused by remarks on jailed aid worker in Iran

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (NOVEMBER 13, 2017) (PARLIAMENT TV) – British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday (NOvember 13) apologised for causing distress with remarks he made about a Iranian-British aid worker jailed in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced to five years after being convicted by an Iranian court of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment. She denies the charges.

Johnson said on Nov. 1 that she had been teaching people journalism before her arrest in April 2016, contradicting her and her employer, who said she had been on holiday visiting her family.

The British government is considering granting diplomatic protection to Zaghari-Ratcliffe. It is unclear how such protection could be offered retrospectively to a dual Iranian-British citizen, or whether such a move would secure her release, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said that it was one option being considered.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the case had become a bargaining chip for Iran in its relations with Britain and urged Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to extend diplomatic protection for his wife.

A legal opinion prepared for human rights charity Redress on Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case said the British government could grant her diplomatic protection as she is “predominantly” a British citizen who has been denied a fair trial.