In Brief

Boris Johnson to visit Iran after prisoner gaffe

Foreign Secretary’s blunder could cost British woman another five years in jail

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson plans to visit Iran following a serious blunder in which he misspoke about the circumstances of a British-Iranian aid worker imprisoned there - a mistake that could see her five-year sentence doubled.

Johnson called Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, today to say that he intends to visit Iran before the end of the year and hopes to see jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Sky News reports.

The charity worker - arrested in April 2016 during a holiday to Iran to see her parents with her then 18-month-old daughter - is in prison for allegedly plotting to topple the government in Tehran, says the BBC, although the official charges have never been made public. 

Johnson told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee last week that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “training journalists” during her trip. His comments were denied by her family and her employer, according to the BBC.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, was told over the weekend that she would be tried for “spreading propaganda against the regime” and that her sentence could be doubled if she is found guilty, her husband says.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox dismissed Johnson’s comment as a “slip of the tongue”. However, fellow Conservative MP Anna Soubry called the Foreign Secretary’s mistake “appalling”, tweeting that “in ‘normal’ times Boris Johnson would have been sacked long ago”.

Labour called his conduct “unacceptable”, and urged Theresa May to fire him.

Recommended

The cost-of-living support available from government
Pound coin and banknotes displayed on a table
Fact file

The cost-of-living support available from government

French forced to eat ‘mustard of the Germans’
There is a shortage of Dijon mustard in France
Tall Tales

French forced to eat ‘mustard of the Germans’

‘Wake up zombies!’
Today’s newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Wake up zombies!’

Next Tory leader odds and polls: who will replace Boris Johnson?
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss
In Depth

Next Tory leader odds and polls: who will replace Boris Johnson?

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Why cats prefer people who hate them
A cat
Tall Tales

Why cats prefer people who hate them

The Week Footer Banner