- Boris Johnson’s comments about imprisoned British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe are being used as propaganda against her.
- Iranian state television described Johnson’s mistaken claim that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” in Iran, as an “unintended confession” and “proof” of the charges against her.
- Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned whilst on holiday with her family.
- Johnson has repeatedly refused to issue a full retraction and apology.
LONDON — Iranian state television has welcomed what it describes as Boris Johnson’s “unintended confession” about the role of the imprisoned British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
The foreign secretary faced calls for his resignation this week after wrongly telling the British parliament that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” while in Iran when she was arrested there last year, when she was in fact on holiday.
His words were used by the Iranian judiciary to justify her continued imprisonment on the charge of “espionage” with fears that it could lead to her sentence being doubled.
Johnson has admitted that he “could have been clearer” but has repeatedly refused to offer a full apology or retraction, saying only that he was sorry if his words had been “misconstrued” or “taken out of context”.
He also claimed that the Iranian government had accepted that his comments had no bearing on the case against Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
However, according to BBC Persia correspondent Hadi Nili, new footage from Iranian state television shows that Johnson’s words continue to be used against her, with his comments being described as an “unintended confession of the UK government about the real plot” behind her trip and “proof” of the allegations against her.
Johnson was quizzed by journalists about the case, while on a trip to the US on Wednesday, with reporters asking him to admit his error.
Johnson again refused.
“I think you’ll find I went into that in great detail in the House Of Commons yesterday and clarified the matter I think perfectly,” he told Sky’s Cordelia Lynch.
Watch Boris Johnson refuse to apologise
The foreign secretary has faced repeated calls for his resignation this week, with even one Conservative MP, Anna Soubry, attacking him for his “shameful” lack of contrition over the case.
He is due to visit Iran later this month and has said he also intends to meet with the family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said that Theresa May still has full confidence in Johnson, who she believes is “doing a good job.”
#Iran stateTV welcomes @BorisJohnson‘s remarks ab Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (@FreeNazanin) as an “unintended confession of the UK gov ab the real plot” behind her trip to Iran & a “proof” of #IRGC‘s accusations against her.” via @NarimanGharib pic.twitter.com/ZaC1T8EVqA
— Hadi Nili (@HadiNili) November 8, 2017
“Why won’t you apologise properly to #Nazanin‘s family Foreign Secretary?” Moment @C4KylieM challenges @BorisJohnson following criticism of his comments on British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran pic.twitter.com/N98awlJJ7Q
— Hayley Barlow (@Hayley_Barlow) November 8, 2017
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