The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been schooling Boris Johnson on how to do his job this morning.
Richard Ratcliffe had asked the Foreign Secretary to help secure the release of his wife, who was arrested in Tehran last April and sentenced to five years in prison for ‘plotting against Iran’.
Johnson did make a statement in Parliament last week – but a mistake he made about the case has landed the British-Iranian citizen in deeper trouble.
His false claim that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran to teach journalists – rather than to visit family – has led to her facing new charges of ‘spreading propaganda’. That could lead to her sentence being doubled.
Johnson has said he will call his Iranian counterpart this morning in a bid to clear-up the confusion he caused.
But speaking to BBC Radio London this morning, Richard Ratcliffe explained to the Foreign Secretary why that strategy “won’t work”. Listen below:
Ratcliffe called on the Foreign Secretary to urgently clarify his “misstep” in Parliament and visit his wife – which is the very least Johnson could do at this stage.
He also spoke movingly about the situation facing his family, telling how:
- Zaghari-Ratcliffe was initially kept in “horrendous” conditions in solidarity confinement;
- The 38-year-old was “very traumatised” by the new charges pressed against her;
- He can’t get permission to visit his wife in prison or his 3-year-old daughter Gabriella, who is also in Iran;
- He “can’t really speak” to his daughter during their Skype calls “because she can’t speak English anymore”;
- His daughter has been “praying for mummy and daddy to be released from prison”
Despite all of this, Ratcliffe is handling this nightmare with incredible dignity.
Johnson could learn a lot…