Boris 'still hasn't apologised' after Nazanin told PM she 'lived in shadow of his words'

13 May 2022, 18:50

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spoken with Boris Johnson at Downing Street.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spoken with Boris Johnson at Downing Street. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Boris Johnson "didn't apologise" when he came face-to-face with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe for the first time since she was released after a six-year detention in Iran.

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Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe visited Downing Street on Friday with her husband Richard Ratcliffe, daughter Gabriella and MP Tulip Siddiq.

The British-Iranian mother returned to Britain, along with a second dual national, Anoosheh Ashoori on March 17 after having been released the day before.

She was allowed to return after the UK finally agreed to settle a £400 million debt dating back to the 1970s.

During her meeting at No10, she told the Prime Minister of the hellish six years she spent trapped in Iran after she was accused of being a spy.

Read more: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: I should have been freed six years ago

Read more: 'Is that mummy?' Nazanin's tearful reunion with family after 6 year hell in Iranian jail

with her husband RICHARD and daughter GABRIELLA AND LABOUR MP TULIP SIDDIQ is seen outside 10 Downing Street before meeting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
with her husband RICHARD and daughter GABRIELLA AND LABOUR MP TULIP SIDDIQ is seen outside 10 Downing Street before meeting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Alamy

She told the Prime Minister she had "lived in the shadow of his words" during her time in detention, MP Tulip Siddiq said.

Mr Ratcliffe, who went on a 21-day hunger strike earlier this year to demand action from the Government, told reporters that Mr Johnson failed to "specifically" apologise for his 2017 gaffe where he wrongly claimed that Nazanin had been training journalists at the time of her 2016 arrest.

He said there were "lessons to learn" in the handling of his wife's detention in Iran, but said he is "relieved" to have her home.

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Boris Johnson outside Downing Street.
Boris Johnson outside Downing Street. Picture: Alamy

He told broadcasters: "I think there is a process to dig through what went wrong, what might have gone better, and probably what could be done to protect people better going forwards."

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq told broadcasters: "I was really proud of Nazanin. 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.

"I have to say the Prime Minister looked quite shocked, I think, when she said that, but I was really proud she did say that because she wanted to make it clear to him that she's happy now, she's grateful, she appreciates the fact that she is home now, but there was a time when the words had a big impact."

Mr Ratcliffe said there was not necessarily "closure" for the family after the meeting, as he reiterated his call for Boris Johnson to give evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the handling of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case.

"I did mean it when I said, please do try and give evidence. He said he would look at it," Mr Ratcliffe said.

"I think he has been a part of our case in different roles, it is important his perspective is shared honestly with Parliament."