Newsbrief: U.K foreign secretary apologizes for statements about imprisoned Briton in Iran

by Jackie Sizing
edited by Haley Gardner

Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, apologized for his deceptive statements about Nazanin Zaghari- Ratcliffe, who is imprisoned in Iran, on Monday, and her family says this could be used to extend and defend her sentence, according to The New York Times.

Last year, Nazanin Zaghari- Ratcliffe, a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested and convicted for five years in prison on untrue charges of planning to take over the Iranian establishment, according to her family and others.

Johnson spoke to Parliament earlier this month. He criticized the imprisonment of Zaghari- Ratcliffe and stated she was just teaching people journalism before being arrested in April of 2016. However, according to her family, these statements are not true and said she was visiting family in Iran.

(Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters)

Johnson’s statements were put on television in Iran, and quickly used by Iranian authorities in a court hearing as evidence to prove she was involved in “propaganda against the regime.”

However, on Monday, Johnson addressed Parliament and apologized about any pain he caused the family.

At first, Johnson said his statements could have been clearer and Zaghari- Ratcliffe was indeed on vacation; however, he did not apologize. There was much criticism and lawmakers called for his resignation.

“I acknowledge that the words I used were open to be misinterpreted and I apologize to Mrs. Zaghari- Ratcliffe and her family if I have inadvertently caused them any further anguish,” Johnson said. “The house should hear no mind that Iran’s regime, and no one else, has chosen to separate this mother and her infant daughter for reasons even they find it difficult to explain or describe.”


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