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Johnson to speak to Iran over jailed Zaghari-Ratcliffe

From BBC - November 6, 2017

Boris Johnson is expected to phone his counterpart in Iran later, amid fears that comments he made could lead to a woman having her jail sentence doubled.

Last week the foreign secretary said British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "teaching" journalism when she was arrested in 2016.

She is serving a five-year sentence, imposed over allegations of involvement in "propaganda against the regime".

Her family maintains she was on holiday to visit family and is innocent.

She was summoned to court on Saturday where Mr Johnson's comment was cited as new evidence as to what she was doing in Iran at the time of her arrest.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the "worst thing" Mr Johnson could do now was "suddenly go quiet and to create this problem without making any clarifications".

"You ca not make a muddle and then leave it. That would be the worst of both worlds," he said.

Mr Ratcliffe told the BBC's Today programme that Mr Johnson should retract - in Parliament - what he said.

He said he still hoped his wife and young daughter would be back home in the UK for Christmas.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to jail following a court hearing into whether she was attempting to overthrow the government.

She denies all the allegations against her, but lost her final appeal in April.

She has since faced two more charges relating to an accusation of plotting to topple the regime in Tehran.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the BBC, but insisted the 2016 visit was for her daughter to meet her grandparents.

However, appearing before MPs on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee last week, Mr Johnson appeared to contradict that.

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