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BORIS JOHNSON failed to apologise to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe today when she confronted him about the “massive impact” that his lies had on her six-year detention in Iran.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband Richard Ratcliffe had a meeting with the Prime Minister at Downing Street, along with their daughter Gabriella and constituency MP Tulip Siddiq.
The British-Iranian dual national was freed in March, along with fellow detainee Anoosheh Ashoori, after Britain agreed to settle a historic £400 million debt to the Middle Eastern country.
During the meeting, Mr Johnson was accused of lengthening her ordeal while he was foreign secretary by wrongly claiming in 2017 that she had been training journalists at the time of her arrest.
Mr Ratcliffe said that his wife had challenged the PM on why it took so long to secure her release.
She also told him his comments had had a “massive impact” on her, saying that Iranian authorities had mentioned Mr Johnson’s words during an interrogation and at a court hearing, where it was cited as proof that she was engaged in “propaganda against the regime.”
Asked whether the PM had apologised, Mr Ratcliffe responded: “Not specifically.”
Mr Johnson said he was sorry “if I inadvertently caused any further anguish.”
Ms Siddiq said that Mr Johnson “looked quite shocked” when her constituent challenged him.
“I was really proud of Nazanin,” the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn added.
“She was sitting next to the Prime Minister and she told him very clearly and categorically that his words had had a big impact on her and that she had lived in the shadow of his words for the best part of four-and-a-half years.”
Ms Siddiq said that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe felt guilty to be back home while others remain in the same conditions she endured, adding that her constituent had raised the case of Swedish citizen Morad Tahbaz, urging that pressure for his release be kept up.
The family also pressed Mr Johnson to give evidence to the Commons foreign affairs committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the government’s handling of the case.
“He said he would look at it,” Mr Ratcliffe said.
The committee said last month that it would take evidence on how Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashoori’s cases were handled by British officials as part of a wider investigation into “state-level hostage situations.”
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