Johnson blunder puts UK mum held in Iran at risk

Johnson: a clown but not at all funny

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has already been responsible for a series of idiotic statements that have caused huge offence in the UK and abroad, through which he tries to bluff his way by with a hem, a haw and a Latin phrase or two.

On 1 November, however, an incorrect statement made recklessly by Johnson has put a UK mother being held in Iran in serious danger, as well-known BBC journalist Julia Macfarlane made clear on Twitter:

Ms Ratcliffe has already served nineteen months in prison of a five-year sentence on charges of attempting to orchestrate a ‘soft overthrow’ of the regime, but was scheduled for possible early release this month. However, the case against her was reopened and additional charges placed relating to alleged protesting in London and her work – not as a journalist – for the BBC and Reuters. The charges, according to her husband, could result in an additional jail term of up to sixteen years.

In that context, Johnson’s factually-wrong and reckless statement that she was there to train journalists could have the most serious repercussions, including perhaps even more serious charges with an even more severe sentence.

Four days after Johnson’s comments, they were used against Ms Ratcliffe in an unscheduled court session as proof of her guilt:

In spite of this disaster, neither Johnson nor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office appear bothered about issuing a correction to his damaging statement.

Ms Ratcliffe’s family are hoping political pressure on Iran will secure her release – but political pressure is clearly needed on Johnson to get him to correct his error and to do their job in working intelligently for Ms Ratcliffe’s release to family, which includes her husband and their three-year-old daughter.

To send an email to Boris Johnson calling on him to correct his mistake, email fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk and copy FCO Permanent Secretary Sir Simon McDonald pus.action@fco.gov.uk

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  1. Reblogged this on The Night Owl and commented:
    And, once again, someone else must suffer for the idiocy of Boris Johnson!
    It’s about time this repugnant toff was sacked – but let’s hope he’s made to retract his statement about Nazanin Ratcliffe immediately!

    1. I’d hope the Iranians’d imprison him if he ever went there. He’d probably give them reason to, the utter and total imbecile.

      And if that ever occurred and I was foreign sec. I’d tell the Iranians they’re welcome to keep hold of him indefinitely.

  2. The truly unfortunate thing is that the FO and the Iranians were perhaps right; she was part of a “soft coup”. Is this how BJ treats our agents, by outing them?

    1. Will you feel proud if the Iranians quote your comment when they double her sentence.

  3. Johnson putting a British citizen abroad at further risk through careless, ill judged comment, Patel possibly flouting the ministerial code in a foreign country, Defence Sec had to resign and is replaced by a man with zero ministerial experience.

    Welcome to May’s Tory “strong and stable” government. We can all sleep soundly in our beds knowing we have men and women with integrity and gravitas steering the ship overseas… the teams behind some of these people need to be looking in the mirror at their own skill set.

  4. Dear Mr Johnson,

    With reference to the above British Citizen incarcerated in an Iranian jail. You will of course remember your own inappropriate assertians as to the status of Ms Ratcliife in that country, referring to Ms Ratcliffe as ’training journalists’.
    You are of course no doubt aware that this assertion has put Ms Ratcliffe’s prospect of early release in jeopardy. I, therefore, urge you to withdraw this comment and issue an apology and correction immediately.
    I would also urge you to reconsider your position as foreign secretary in order to avoid putting citizens of this country in danger in the future.

    Yours faithfully

    Paul Byrne

  5. If you’d like to hear Boris bumble through his answer at the Foreign Affairs Committee on Parliament TV, the link below covers the question (Q73 in the written version):


    The written version, with the previous question for context, is:

    Q72 Ann Clwyd: When I pressed the Iranian delegation in St Petersburg, one of the members of the delegation said to me, “If you come to Tehran, you can visit Mrs Ratcliffe in jail.”

    Boris Johnson: Who—me or you?

    Q73 Ann Clwyd: Me. Would you like to?

    Boris Johnson: Of course. Obviously, we will have to be very careful about this, because we want them to be released. I have raised this case many times now with Javad Zarif, my Iranian counterpart. When we look at what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing, she was simply teaching people journalism, as I understand it, at the very limit. I hope that a way forward can be found. I must say, I find it deeply depressing; I think it is totally contrary to the interests of the Iranian people for this to continue.

  6. I tried to mail from my uni email address but both addresses below threw up an error message to say they couldn’t be delivered as they were no longer valid?

    Steph Petrie

  7. I have come to realise often painfully, it’s not what you know, how good or your integrity is, so long as you know the right people and it irregardless of whether your incompetent, dangerous or dishonest, you’ll go far like Boris and the rest of this toxic government.

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