Boris Johnson didn't apologise for handling of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case, husband says

Richard Ratcliffe's comments come after he and his wife met the PM for the first time since her release today

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Richard Ratcliffe said Boris Johnson did not specifically apologise for his handling of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran.

Asked if the Prime Minister apologised during their first meeting since her release, Mr Ratcliffe told reporters in Downing Street: “Not specifically.”

He added: “It was two years ago that I stood here having seen the Prime Minister and I came out fairly forlorn, in the sense that we were having to battle for longer.

“I stand here now with the battle over for us.

“I think there are lessons to learn, there is a wider problem.

Richard Ratcliffe
Richard Ratcliffe
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella leaving 10 Downing Street
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella leaving 10 Downing Street

“We talked about the mistakes made at the end. It was rough at the end, and I think, when Nazanin is ready to talk about it, that is something that we need to go through.

“But no, I think, it is not like when this is over that you feel angry. Relief is what I honestly feel.”

The meeting comes weeks after Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released from her six-year detention in Iran.

Speaking before the meeting, MP Tulip Siddiq said, who was also in attendance said: “I was pleased to be invited to Number 10 along with my constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family. I know her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella was particularly excited to be meeting the Prime Minister.

“After six long years of unjust and unlawful imprisonment in Iran, Nazanin deserves to hear directly from the Prime Minister about why it took so long to get her home.

“We will use the meeting as an opportunity to raise the plight of British citizens like Morad Tahbaz who are still being held hostage in Iran and push the Prime Minister to do much more to secure their release. He has a responsibility to ensure that others do not have to endure the six years of torment that Nazanin was put through.

“I will also be submitting evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry on hostage taking, which I hope will get the bottom of the Government’s abject failure in handling cases like Nazanin’s.

“Never again must the Government allow British citizens to be taken hostage with so little done to secure their release and so few reprisals for those responsible.”

While a spokesman for the Prime Minister said before the meeting: “We’ve said previously that the Prime Minister was open to meeting both Nazanin as well as Mr (Anoosheh) Ashoori.

“It is something we have been trying to arrange. I’ve set out that he is going to welcome her to Downing Street to discuss her ordeal in Iran.”

The official said the meeting was “something we’ve worked together on to make happen”.

Asked whether Mr Johnson would be apologising to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the spokesman replied: “I think it is important to remember that it was the Iranian government who were responsible for her unfair detention, and the decision to release her was always in their gift.

“However, I would point back to the Prime Minister’s words, his answers to questions on this before and he has previously apologised for his comments in 2017.”