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U.K. Foreign Secretary Apologizes For Remarks About Briton Jailed In Iran


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family and employer say she was on vacation when she went to Iran, taking her toddler daughter to meet her grandparents for the first time.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has apologized for causing distress with remarks about an Iranian-British mother jailed in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen, is serving a five-year sentence after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment.

The charges have been repeatedly denied by her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Johnson said earlier this month that she had been teaching journalism in Iran before her arrest last year.

The remarks led to calls for Johnson to resign for putting her at further risk.

Iran's state-controlled television had seized on his remarks and claimed it was an implicit admission of guilt.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family and employer say she was on vacation when she went to Iran, taking her toddler daughter to meet her grandparents for the first time.

"I do apologize. Of course I retract any suggestion she was there in a professional capacity," Johnson told the British parliament on November 13.

"I apologize for the distress and anguish caused to Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family. Our priority now is to everything we can to get her out of Iran on humanitarian grounds," he added.

He said he would discuss the idea of giving Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection in a meeting with her husband this week.

"He has requested to come to Tehran. I don't know whether that will be possible but we will see what we can do," Johnson said.

Johnson said earlier this month that he will travel to Iran in the coming weeks and discuss all consular issues there.

He said that he would seek to meet Zaghari-Ratcliffe during his planned trip.

Based on reporting by Reuters and The Guardian
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