Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Gove under fire for comments

13 November, 2017, 07:21 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • PORTUGAL-BRITAN-DIPLOMACY

A British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran and at the centre of a political controversy in Britain has undergone tests for breast cancer as her emotional state worsens, her husband said on Sunday.

The Foreign Secretary incorrectly stated that the woman, a charity worker and a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), was "simply teaching people journalism" in Iran when she was arrested in 2016.

They hauled her in front of a court last week to confirm she was facing new charges of "propaganda against the regime" and could see her original five-year sentence doubled. "Iran. It should be the actions of their judiciary and the revolutionary guards".

The Iranian government accused her of working for a United Kingdom media network involved in activities against Iran.

Mr Johnson has been heavily criticised for making remarks that were seized on by the Iranian authorities to justify its threats to extend her sentence.

Mr Ratcliffe said he did not think the Foreign Secretary should quit because he had a "crucial role" in fighting for his wife and that "more instability" would not be in her interests.

Richard Ratcliffe said he spoke to Mr Johnson for about 20 minutes yesterday morning, during which the Cabinet minister said he was "deeply sorry for Nazanin's suffering".

Mr Johnson has agreed to meet Mr Ratcliffe in the next few days, the family's statement said.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family have issued a statement about her condition, saying she had been "complaining of sharp stabbing pains in her breasts" for more than a year.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett accused Gove of protecting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is facing mounting pressure to leave office after he made some damaging remarks on Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Khan echoed those sentiments, telling the BBC that if "May was a strong Prime Minister she would have sacked him a long time ago".

He was asked by the BBC what the Briton was doing in Iran, and replied: "I don't know".

Concern over her physical and mental health is growing, and neither Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe nor her husband has had access to their daughter, who is being looked after by her grandparents in Iran.

Mr Gove told Andrew Marr he would "take her husband's assurance" that the British-Iranian citizen was on holiday.

Labour's Chris Bryant said the comments were proof of an "incompetent" Government.

"For Michael Gove to go on TV today and say he wasn't sure ... he should know that Nazanin was on holiday and in compounding the lie that was told about training journalists, he is only going to make life worse for my constituent". I think it's plain wrong for us to try to find fault with democrats, and the real responsibility is to say to the Iranian regime: "you are a serial abuser of human rights, you are the principal state sponsor of terrorism, you have blood on your hands in Syria, your responsibility is to ensure that this British citizen is at liberty". "It's a Government of incompetence".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have both called for Mr Johnson to resign for putting Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe at risk.

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