Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case: Diplomatic protection 'one option'

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Michael Gove

Emily Thornberry accused Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove who has defended the Foreign Secretary's words of leaving wriggle room for the Iranians to keep prosecuting Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe unless he wholeheartedly admitted he had been mistaken to say that she was working teaching journalists in Iran. Urge them to push the Prime Minister to pressure the Iranian government for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release. It wasn't for any other goal.

Richard said: "So that this is clear - for the media, government and particularly for authorities in Iran - as Nazanin's husband, I do not believe it is in Nazanin's interests for there to be any resignations".

That's because diplomatic protection is a mechanism under global law that a state can use to help one its nationals whose rights have been breached in another country. "Our priority now is to everything we can to get her out of Iran on humanitarian grounds", he added.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News there was a "strong case" for Mr Johnson to be sacked and any strong PM would have done so before now, but he acknowledged Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family's "acutely hard position". She was there on holiday.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme earlier, Mr Ratcliffe said he had written to the Foreign Office following remarks made by Mr Gove.

The broad legal principle is that British diplomats would no longer be representing the interests of a citizen but the interests of their state.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's fate become a major political issue in Britain after Johnson made remarks on November 1 that appeared to cast doubt on statements from her employer.

"We are of the view that the only effective means under worldwide law by which the grave harm suffered by Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be repaired lies in the UK's right to exercise diplomatic protection", the legal opinion said.

"If it is a matter of pride that the foreign secretary is refusing to admit that simply he has made a mistake, well then I feel bound to say to him that his pride matters not one ounce compared to Nazanin's freedom", she said in the Commons.

"I'm reassured that it is the position of the government", Mr Ratcliffe said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also launched a furious attack on Mr Johnson, calling on him to quit for "putting our citizens at risk".

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.

Accountant Richard, of Fortune Green Road, said Nazanin had discovered the lumps after complaining of sharp stabbing pains in her breasts for some months He said the past week had also taken its toll on his wife's mental state.

The REDRESS Trust, which helps Briton arrested overseas, has highlighted the legal opinion that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe should be given diplomatic protection.

(It is actually Ratcliffe, as surely the entire nation now knows).

Sometimes the price of political failure has a human face and right now Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is that emblematic figure.

What was interesting, though, was that Tory MPs seemed much more comfortable with making this argument than they had been a week ago.

"I think the best chance Nazanin has of coming home this side of Christmas is all of the weight of the Foreign Office and the foreign secretary being focused on doing that", he said.

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