A spokesman for the British Foreign Office has said that Minister Johnson hopes that a resolution would be reached soon on the fate of British national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained in Iran. The spokesman also stressed that she was “on holiday” in Iran when arrested, not “teaching journalism” as Johnson earlier said in a controversial remark.
London has called on Tehran to release British national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe “on humanitarian grounds.” A spokesperson for the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also stated that Foreign Secretary Borish Johnson’s recent remark on the issue couldn’t form a justifiable basis for further action in the case, according to Reuters.
The British Foreign Office said Johnson had a phone convesation with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday to “raise again his serious concerns about the case.”
“He [Johnson] reiterated his anxiety about the continued suffering of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family and hoped a solution would be reached soon,” the spokesman said about the phone call, adding that Johnson also wanted to “ensure his remarks are not misrepresented.”
Johnson has been under public pressure for saying last week that Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in Iran last year, was “simply teaching people journalism.” She is currently serving a five-year sentence for a plot to overthrow the Iranian government.
After Johnson’s remarks, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned to a court hearing, where Johnson’s words were interpreted as proof she was using propaganda to act against the Iranian government. The authorities threatened her with an additional five-year sentence.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, insist she was merely visiting her family. The Foundation has stressed that she is not a journalist and has never trained journalists.
“She is not a journalist and has never trained journalists at the Thomson Reuters Foundation where she is project manager in my Media Development team,” Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation chief executive, said in a statement, adding that there is “a direct correlation” between Johnson’s statement and the fact that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is now being threatened with a new sentence.