Boris Johnson sorry for jailed woman's suffering but no apology for remarks, according to her husband

The husband of a British woman jailed in Iran has said Boris Johnson did not apologise to him for wrongly stating that his wife was "training journalists" in the country.

Richard Ratcliffe spoke to the UK Foreign Secretary about the plight of his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, after Mr Johnson's comments led to calls for him to resign from cabinet.

Asked if the minister had apologised for the remarks, Mr Ratcliffe told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "He was sorry for what Nazanin was going through, and for her suffering, and he said all of the country was behind her."

Pressed on whether Mr Johnson said sorry for his comments, Mr Ratcliffe said: "He didn't make the connection. He didn't mention it."

Mr Ratcliffe said he did not bring the comments up with the Foreign Secretary as they discussed ways to help his wife.

He said Mr Johnson is now "personally engaged" in the case following controversy over his remarks.

Mr Ratcliffe told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It feels now we do have the Foreign Secretary's personal engagement. He did promise to consider whether she would be eligible for diplomatic protection. Which again gives a different aspect and a different push to what they will do for her."

Mr Ratcliffe said UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove had provoked anger by saying he did not know why Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran.

"Certainly there was all sorts of anger in our house. The government's position is that the government is clear, and has no doubt, that she was there on holiday.

"I asked the Foreign Office to remind all of the cabinet members that that's the government's position," he told Good Morning Britain.

Mr Ratcliffe said it would not be helpful for Mr Johnson to resign over his handling of the case.

"I don't think it's helpful for Nazanin at this point. I don't think it's helpful also in terms of how that looks in Iran for me to be looking like I'm playing politics.

"It's very important that the Iranians can see that this is just a family who are battling to bring Nazanin home, and not get the sort of sense that we are some sort of great Machiavellian power, we are not," he told the BBC.

The mother-of-one was jailed for five years in September on allegations of spying and attempting to topple the Iranian regime.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been visiting her parents to introduce them to her daughter, Gabriella.

Earlier this month, she was summoned back to court and threatened with further charges after Mr Johnson mistakenly told a Commons committee that she had been training journalists at the time of her arrest.

Mr Ratcliffe says his wife is now on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Attending a summit in Brussels, Mr Johnson said: "On Iran, and consular cases generally, they are all very sensitive. And I think the key thing to understand is that we are working very, very hard, and intensively, and impartially on all those cases."


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