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Blame Iran not Boris Johnson over Nazanin case, says Michael Gove

Blame Iran not Boris Johnson over Nazanin case, says Michael Gove
From BBC - November 12, 2017

Iran, not Boris Johnson, should be the focus of criticism over the detention of a British-Iranian woman, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said.

The foreign secretary caused controversy by suggesting Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists when she was arrested.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have called for him to resign for putting her at risk.

But Mr Gove said the UK must "call out" Iran, not "play their game".

"Who is in the dock here? Iran. It should be the actions of their judiciary and the revolutionary guards," Mr Gove told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

"We make a big mistake if we think the right thing to do is to blame politicians in a democracy who are trying to do the right thing for the plight of a woman who is being imprisoned by a regime that is a serial abuser of human rights."

"If the Iranian judiciary want to use the words of a democrat in order to justify an unjustifiable decision then it is our responsibility to call them out. Let's not play their game."

'Do not know'

But Mr Gove has come under fire from Labour, as when he was asked what Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been doing in Iran, he initially replied: "I do not know" before going on to say that he would "take exactly her husband's assurance" that she had been on a family holiday.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said Mr Gove had "compounded" Mr Johnson's "cavalier approach to international diplomacy" adding: "It appears (Mr) Gove is more interested in protecting (Mr) Johnson's job than the liberty of a British citizen in jail in Iran.

"Theresa May must ensure Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe does not pay the price for her ministers' bungling."

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is currently serving a five-year sentence after Iran tried her on charges of trying to overthrow the government.

She denies all the allegations against her and says she was in Iran so her daughter could meet her grandparents.

'Got to go'

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