The Foreign Office is studying a package of measures to ease relations with Iran before a visit to Tehran by Boris Johnson that has been billed as the foreign secretary’s chance to win the release of the jailed British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
On Friday, the FCO was playing down the chances of a breakthrough in the visit later this year, and stressed that any measures to ease Anglo-Iranian relations had already been under consideration before Johnson said incorrectly that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “teaching people journalism” in Tehran. Her family and employer have always said she was on holiday at the time she was arrested.
…The Iranian judiciary and media seized on Johnson’s remarks, made at a foreign affairs select committee hearing last week, to claim that he had revealed the truth about her activities in Iran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe had already been sentenced to five years in prison and Iranian officials had threatened to add extra charges even before Johnson’s remarks to MPs. However, his error gave Iranian hardliners a further incentive to take a tougher line with her.
It has been reported that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been hooded and interrogated, had cried uncontrollably when she was separated from her two-year-old daughter and had spent her first eight months in solitary confinement.