Gaby kisses pic­tures of her mum on the phone ev­ery day

Hus­band’s agony at John­son gaffe over Brit in Iran prison

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW GRE­GORY Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

THE hus­band of jailed Brit Nazanin Zaghari-rat­cliffe last night told how their lit­tle daugh­ter Gabriella has been left tor­mented by her mum’s ab­sence.

And thanks to blun­der­ing Boris John­son, the tot’s an­guish could be ex­tended by sev­eral more years after he claimed the 38-year-old was train­ing jour­nal­ists in Iran.

Richard Rat­cliffe spoke as pres­sure grew on Theresa May to sack the gaffe-prone For­eign Sec­re­tary, who has so far re­fused to apol­o­gise for his dan­ger­ous com­ments.

And 165,000 Brits have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing on him to quit.

Ira­nian state TV in­sisted Mr John­son’s com­ments were ‘proof” Nazanin had been act­ing against Iran when ar­rested 18 months ago.

Richard said of three-year-old Gabriella: “She knows that all the other chil­dren at nurs­ery have a nor­mal mummy and daddy, and she hasn’t. She got asked by a mum in a park, ‘Where is your mum?’ And Gabriella said, quite matter-of-factly, ‘Oh, she’s in prison.’ But she ex­pects mummy to be home for Christ­mas. She will see Nazanin’s pic­ture on a news ar­ti­cle on a mo­bile phone, and will kiss the pic­ture of mummy, and give mummy a cud­dle.”

Gabriella is liv­ing with her grand­par­ents in Iran. Richard, 42, told how the child gets to see Nazanin twice a week in 45 minute vis­its. He said: “Nazanin has told Gabriella, ‘Mummy and you will be go­ing to see daddy in Lon­don for Christ­mas.’

“But then Gabriella will ask, ‘Is it Christ­mas to­day? Is it Christ­mas to­mor­row?’ It’s very dif­fi­cult.” Richard said it was “not my place or my pri­or­ity” to call for Mr John­son to quit. But he does want to take up the Tory’s of­fer of a meet­ing to dis­cuss the case and join him on a planned trip to Te­heran later this year.

Richard said Nazanin’s par­ents had watched the state TV bul­letin about Mr John­son’s com­ments in hor­ror and were left “in a state of shock and dis­be­lief”. Their daugh­ter has been warned the For­eign Sec­re­tary’s state­ment could mean her five-year sen­tence for al­leged spy­ing may be dou­bled. Mr John­son with­drew the re­mark, made last week.

But Ira­nian TV said on Wed­nes­day his words were the “un­in­tended

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