NEWS
11/01/2018 09:15 GMT

Boris Johnson Will Use Summit To Raise Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Case With Iran's Foreign Minister

Foreign Secretary promises to raise 'serious concern' for jailed Briton.

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Boris Johnson will raise the plight of imprisoned mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at an international summit

Boris Johnson will raise the plight of imprisoned British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with his Iranian counterpart in the margins of an international summit.

The Foreign Secretary will attend talks in Brussels focused on the Iran nuclear deal amid concerns about US President Donald Trump’s opposition to the agreement.

But he will also use the meeting to raise the issue of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual-national consular cases with Tehran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mother-of-one Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 during a holiday visit to show her baby daughter Gabriella to her parents.

Family handout/PA
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured with her husband Richard and their daughter Gabriella

The 39-year-old, from Hampstead, north London, is currently serving a five-year sentence over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government. 

Johnson was forced to apologise late last year after he claimed Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Tehran to train journalists. 

In December, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe said he was hopeful his wife would be released on Boxing Day, if not within the next fortnight. 

She had been marked eligible for early release, having completed a third of her sentence, reports said at the time.

The main focus of the talks in Brussels, which will also be attended by French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel and EU high representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini, will be the nuclear deal.

The US has said it would consider scrapping the 2015 deal, in which Iran restricted its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, but the EU parties remain committed to the agreement.

Johnson said: “The UK has always been clear: the Iran nuclear deal is a crucial agreement that makes the world safer.

“It is vital that we continue to work with our European partners to preserve the Iran deal, and with it the security and prosperity it is bringing to the people of Iran and the world.

“It is those shared interests which will drive our discussions in Brussels.

“Of course there are areas where we disagree with Iran, not least on its destabilising regional activity and its ballistic missile programme. This will be an important part of our conversation.

“I will be making it clear to foreign minister Zarif, on the subject of the recent protests in Iran, that the right to peaceful demonstration within the law is central to any truly thriving society.

“I will also raise all of our Iranian dual-national consular cases.”