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Boris Johnson admits his remarks 'could have been clearer' about jailed Briton

08 November 2017

The charge has been strongly denied by her employer, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and her husband, who have consistently said she was on holiday with her daughter.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Radcliffe, has criticised Johnson's "misstep" and has called on the foreign secretary to correct his remarks to MPs in Parliament.

The mop-haired former London mayor and zealous Brexiteer Johnson has come under criticism before for his shoot-from-the-hip style of speaking, which his supporters find clever and endearing - "Boris being Boris" - and his critics see as exhausted and buffoonish.

In the phone call, Johnson "expressed concern at the suggestion from the Iranian Judiciary High Council for Human Rights that his remarks last week at the Foreign Affairs Committee "shed new light" on the case".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was forced to backtrack Tuesday amid growing criticism over his comments about a jailed British-Iranian woman, saying his remarks "could have been clearer" but insisting they should have no impact on her prison sentence.

The Foreign Office said that Johnson would call his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, "to raise again his serious concerns about the case and ensure his remarks are not misrepresented".

"The foreign secretary's failure to retract his comments to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee is unforgivable", said Siddiq, who represent's Zaghari-Ratcliffe's district in London.

Speaking on BBC's Radio 4, he said: "We all make slips of the tongue, we've got to very careful that we are not overreacting to this in a way that is going to give the Iranians [an excuse to extend the sentence]".

Mr Ratcliffe said the Foreign Secretary should visit his wife while he is in Iran, and asked for a meeting with Mr Johnson before he heads to Tehran. "It was clear as it always had been that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran on holiday when arrested".

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May told Business Insider that the foreign office intends to speak to the family later today but did not say whether Johnson would do this himself.

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In October, when the new charges were filed, husband Richard Ratcliffe said the British government should be doing more to help his wife, and that it should not be making business deals with the regime that has imprisoned her.

Supporters hold a photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, candles and signs during a vigil for British-Iranian mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in Tehran outisde the Iranian Embassy on January 16, 2017 in London, England.

Mr Johnson said he will discuss all the UK's consular cases when he visits Iran in the coming weeks.

Mr Ratcliffe told Sky News he was pleased with Mr Johnson's condemnation.

Nazanin was summoned before a court on Saturday to be told she was now facing allegations of "propaganda against the state".

In his defence of the Foreign Secretary, Dr Fox also urged caution amid the backlash at Mr Johnson's actions.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has also demanded Mr Johnson retract his comments, clarifying Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a project manager for the charity and has never trained journalists.

"In those circumstances, he should have taken rather less than six days to make that clear". "Labour MP Tulip Sadiq said: "It is unforgivable for the foreign secretary to repeat the lies of the Iranian Revolutionary guard", adding that to say "'I should be clearer' does not cut it when it is a case of life or death".

A petition has now been launched on online petition site Change.org demanding Mr Johnson step down as foreign secretary. Because he lobs grenades at sensitive situations. "And in doing so, is a threat to British people and damaging overseas relations".

"The worst thing the Foreign Secretary could do is to now suddenly go quiet and to create this problem without making any clarifications", Ratcliffe told the UK Press Association on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson admits his remarks 'could have been clearer' about jailed Briton