Boris Johnson 'endangered' Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's life

Michael Gove

Both TRF and Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard, maintain that the woman was on holiday at the time of her arrest - a central part of her defence.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained last April while on holiday and accused of trying to topple the regime in Tehran.

The country's state TV broadcaster claimed the Foreign Secretary's suggestion that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "training journalists" in Iran at the time of her arrest amounted to an "unintended admission" of her guilt.

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife was taken to hospital for tests after complaining of "stabbing pains" in her breasts.

Mr Ratcliffe said she again suggested she was on "the verge of a nervous breakdown" and had been "brought to tears" at the "lies" being shown on Iranian television about her case. He was very clear in what he said and he was wrong.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims the 38-year-old was plotting to overthrow the regime, and the Briton has been denied access to consular assistance.

"Boris Johnson's cavalier approach to global diplomacy is compounded this morning by Michael Gove claiming he has no idea what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran".

Following criticism for refusing to act, Mr Johnson has finally attacked both Nazanin's conviction for spying as a mockery of justice and her treatment by the Iranian authorities.

Mr Johnson's comments have been widely reported by state media in Iran and held up as justification for her incarceration. "Iran. Let's not play their game".

Mr Johnson told a Commons committee earlier this month that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "training journalists" in Iran at the time of her arrest previous year. Concern over her physical and mental health is growing, and neither Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe nor her husband has had access to their daughter, who is being looked after by her grandparents in Iran.

But the stinging criticism from Mr Penman piles further pressure on the Foreign Secretary, who has faced calls for his resignation in recent days from across the political spectrum.

Boris Johnson had to be summoned to the Commons by an urgent question from Labour, but when he got there, he did eventually apologise for his blunder in which he had told MPs that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been visiting Iran in a professional capacity to teach journalism.

He believes Johnson "should go to bed at night worrying about [the Zaghari-Ratcliffe] case" but instead "I think he's got his eyes on whether he's going to be Prime Minister or whether he's going to be sacked". Shadow Cabinet office minister Jon Trickett said: "It appears Gove is more interested in protecting Johnson's job than the liberty of a British citizen in jail in Iran".

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