Boris Johnson was asked to help secure the release of a British mum imprisoned in Iran – but has instead landed her in deeper trouble.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works in a non-journalistic role for the Thompson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 after visiting family with her baby daughter, Gabriella.

The 38-year-old British-Iranian citizen, who lives in London, was charged with plotting against Iran and sentenced to five years in prison. 

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, had publicly called on the Foreign Secretary to intervene in the case and reunite the family in time for Christmas.

Johnson did call for her release during his appearance in front of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee on November 1.

But a mistake he made about her case has now led to Zaghari-Ratcliffe being hauled before court on new charges.

Johnson told MPs: We have to be very careful about this because we want them released.”

Yet moments later, he added: “When you look at what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing, she was simply teaching people journalism, as I understand it.”


The Thompson Reuters Foundation welcomed Johnson’s statement but urged him to correct it to make clear that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is not a journalist and was not training journalists in Iran.

He does not appear to have done so because the Foundation today issued a desperate plea for Johnson to “immediately correct the serious mistake”.

They did so after Zaghari-Ratcliffe was hauled before a Court this Saturday on new charges of “spreading propaganda against the regime.”

In a statement issued yesterday, the Iranian judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights said:

“For months it was claimed that Nazanin is a British-Iranian charity worker who went to see her family when she was arrested. Mr Johnson’s statement has shed new light on the realities about Nazanin.”

Monique Villa, the CEO of the Thompson Reuters Foundation, said both she and Richard Ratcliffe see a “direct correlation” between Johnson’s statement and the new charges, which could see her sentence doubled.

This clown treats the world as his stage – but the act is really not funny anymore…

  1. Nazanin’s life and future is in the hands of this imbecile. Has he no idea what damage he has done by not bothering to get his facts right? Is this lazy fool the best we can do for Foreign Secretary. he is a bloody disgrace

  2. Idea – ” Can we exchange Nazanin for Boris Johnson?” That would be a goodwill gesture on behalf of Boris. Oh sorry forgot he is a Tory and they do not know what goodwill is. Sorry.

  3. In an ideal world, the British Foreign Office would contact the Iranian Government and point out that Johnson is an incompetent pillock who made a false statement about the purpose of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s visit to their country. The F.C.O’s communication to Teheran would include pages of media attachments indicating Johnson’s failure to get things right. Oh for an ideal world.

  4. Just an incompetent toff with no more idea of the rest of the world than where his next bottle of Champagne will come from. Boris deserves no respect. On a daily basis, he brings this country lower and lower. Jerk.

  5. Jane Blanchard says:

    Boris Johnson has demonstrated time again that he is thick, pompous and successfully making this country a laughing stock. However his inability to grasp the importance of accuracy has resulted in a young woman being held in prison. This is a total disgrace and he is to be abhorred. Please go and live in America. Boris, where you would be at home with the country of fake facts while you squander your family inheritance instead of prancing through jobs for which you are woefully unqualified. And please don’t come back. We all think you are a posh, opportunist dickhead.

  6. When May said FFS referring to BJ she was bang on. This poor family have endured terrible suffering and our Foreign Secretary has just waded in and made things worse. Perhaps Priti Patel could pop over to Iran on her hols and sort things out.

  7. Two thinks strange about this
    1 where did dozy Boris get the idea she was training journalists, it seems a strange thing to pick out of the air……
    2 why does this guys daughter no longer speak english, only Iranian, How long has his wife been in Iran on ‘HOLIDAY’ ?
    Something stinks………

  8. @Moose
    1.) Boris Johnson is incompetent and not fit for office.
    2.) Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter was 21 months old when her detention in Iran began (April 2016) so, it’s hardly surprising that the girl doesn’t speak English.

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