Johnson in trouble after remark about detained mother
A BRITISH accountant fighting for his wife’s release from an Iranian jail is now at the centre of a diplomatic storm that has led to calls for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to resign.
More than 19 months since his wife was arrested at Tehran airport, Richard Ratcliffe said all he wanted was to be reunited with his wife and daughter in time for the holidays.
“The best case scenario is to get her home by Christmas,” the softly-spoken 42-year-old said.
Dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been jailed on sedition charges, while her daughter Gabriella, now three, had her British passport confiscated and has since been living with her grandparents in Iran.
“We’re obviously a very truncated, broken up family at the moment,” said Ratcliffe, who speaks to his wife by phone and has Skype conversations with his daughter.
Via Skype “we can cuddle each other and share food and cups of tea”, he said.
National attention has fallen on his case in recent days, after Johnson said last week Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran, comments which the Iranian judiciary has since used to justify her detention.
Her family and employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a media charity where she worked as a project manager, have insisted that she was on holiday in Iran. Johnson has said his words were misinterpreted.
An editorial in The Times yesterday said Johnson’s position was vulnerable and would become untenable if the Iranian judiciary were to use his remarks to justify further detention of Zaghari-Ratcliffe. – AFP