In Brief

Johnson under renewed pressure over Zaghari-Ratcliffe gaffe

Iranian state TV welcomes Foreign Secretary’s ‘unintended confession’ about jailed Briton

Boris Johnson dodged questions today about jailed British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after Iranian state TV reported that the Foreign Secretary had accidentally confessed she was training journalists in Iran prior to her arrest.  

Johnson “faced new calls to step down” following today’s revelations about the televised claims, reports the London Evening Standard.

The Iranian news report, translated by Associated Press and published by Sky News, said: “Boris Johnson’s unintended confession confirming training some Iranian journalists by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was a goof that the British government could not cover up.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, was detained in Tehran on spying charges while visiting family there with her then 18-month-old daughter in April 2016. Her husband and others fear that Iranian authorities have taken Johnson’s incorrect comments about her - made before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee last week - as a justification for her five-year jail term and may even double the sentence, The Independent reports.

The Foreign Secretary refused to refer to Zaghari-Ratcliffe by name today when ambushed by reporters during an official trip to Washington DC - merely saying his department had “some difficult cases” that it was working on with Iran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family has asked the UK embassy to release a statement in Farsi correcting Johnson’s erroneous comments, The Times says.

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