Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Boris Johnson to meet husband

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Boris Johnson to meet husband

Answering an urgent question in parliament, the Foreign Secretary also played down suggestions that the United Kingdom could give diplomatic status to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested 19 months ago when she was on holiday visiting relatives in Iran and subsequently imprisoned.

Mr Johnson returned from Brussels to answer an urgent question on the case in the House of Commons, amid continuing concern that his suggestion to a parliamentary committee that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists in Iran has exposed her to the threat of the doubling of her five-year jail sentence.

Mr Johnson is expected to use the meeting to discuss Mr Ratcliffe's request for his wife to be given diplomatic protection.

"She was there on holiday and that is the view".

Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, wife of Farnham's Richard Ratcliffe, has been held in Tehran since her arrest by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in April 2016.

She was sentenced to five years after being convicted by an Iranian court of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment.

Summoned to the Commons, Mr Johnson told MPs: 'Of course I apologise for the distress and suffering caused by the impression I gave that the Government believe, and I believe, that she was there in a professional capacity. She is now being detained in Iran after being convicted of "spying".

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife is "on the verge of a nervous breakdown" and angry at the Foreign Secretary for allowing the situation to become "a shambles".

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The visit would also give him an opportunity to see his two-year-old daughter Gabriella, who was with her mother when she was arrested.

It follows an apology by the foreign secretary for "anguish" caused by false remarks he made about the reason for her travels.

Her family have always maintained she was on holiday with her daughter.

Some critics called for Mr Johnson to resign, but Richard Ratcliffe said it would not be in his wife's interests.

The Foreign Secretary has sought advice from officials to determine whether conferring the status would help, including what impact it would have on the support now being provided and the representations already being made on Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's behalf.

Mr Ratcliffe hopes to accompany the Foreign Secretary on his forthcoming trip to Tehran.

The family's local MP Tulip Siddiq told Sky News that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had sobbed inconsolably during an earlier phone call with her husband, saying: 'She just said that she couldn't believe that Boris Johnson would make those comments.

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