Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson 'keen' to take Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband to Iran



Boris Johnson is "keen" for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband to accompany him to Iran as the UK ups its attempts to secure her release, Richard Ratcliffe has said.
 
Mr Ratcliffe - whose dual-nationality wife has been locked up in Tehran on spying charges since early last year - said the timing of the Foreign Secretary's trip had not yet been confirmed.
 
 
He described a meeting between the pair on Wednesday morning as "positive" and "constructive".


He said: "We talked about his trip to Iran, and as of the meeting, it's not confirmed when.


"He said he was keen to take me but it is a question to resolve both within the advice of the Foreign Office and also in liaising with the Iranians.


"We will still keep pushing for that.


"It's very important for me to go on that trip, to be standing alongside the Foreign Secretary, and I understand that's a big ask, it's reasonably unprecedented, but it's important for me."


Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker, was detained in Tehran Airport in April 2016 as she was returning home from a family holiday with 22-month-old daughter Gabriella.


The 38-year-old denies spying charges.


She has been in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since then and her husband has accused Mr Johnson of possibly increasing her sentence by five years after he told MPs last week she was "teaching people journalism" in the country.


Mr Ratcliffe said he and the Foreign Secretary spoke about diplomatic protection for his wife.


"We talked of the point of diplomatically protection, which is different to diplomatic immunity," he said.


"It is, in essence, when a state like Britain decides Nazanin is being treated badly [and that] because she's British she's entitled to protection by the British state.
 
 
"It's not unprecedented but it's a big step. I said it would be important and helpful.


"The Foreign Office expressed reservations and we agreed there are some questions we've sent from the lawyers, they've agreed to answer the questions and then for the lawyers to sit down and talk it through both legally and practically."




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