Johnson to meet husband of aid worker jailed in Iran

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Richard Ratcliffe also revealed Iran had been looking at extending her sentence before Mr Johnson's gaffe, telling ITV News: 'In fairness, there were hints of new charges before he made the comments'.

Summoned to the Commons, Mr Johnson told MPs: 'Of course I apologise for the distress and suffering caused by the impression I gave that the Government believe, and I believe, that she was there in a professional capacity.

Also attending the meeting at the foreign and commonwealth office in London will be Middle East minister Alistair Burt, who has met Mr Ratcliffe before and visited Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family in Tehran, and FCO consular officials who have been providing support to the family. I do apologise, and of course I retract any suggestion that she was there in a professional capacity'.

Mr Johnson is expected to use the meeting to discuss Mr Ratcliffe's request for his wife to be given diplomatic protection. She is now being detained in Iran after being convicted of "spying".

PA Wire  PA Images                   Boris Johnson plans to visit Iran later this year
PA Wire PA Images Boris Johnson plans to visit Iran later this year

Her family have always maintained she was on holiday with her daughter.

He will speak to the Foreign Secretary at the Foreign Office at 10am, in a bid to help secure his wife's release from Iran.

She claimed his recent comments to the foreign affairs select committee had made Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's situation worse by suggesting that she had been there to train journalists.

He said her mood was "uncontrollable" and revealed that she had experienced pain in her breasts and been taken to hospital for an ultrasound, which found lumps.

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Mr Johnson has sought advice from officials to determine whether conferring the status could help, including what impact it would have on the support now being provided and the representations already being made on Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's behalf.

He also told MPs that he will be meeting, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard this week after he wrote an open letter urging Mr Johnson to take him on his forthcoming diplomatic mission to Tehran amid growing fears over her health.

She has been detained since April 2016 and is one of eight people with dual Iranian and foreign nationality held in prison in Iran as of last month, according to the New York-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

He said: 'She has been very angry for a number of days. Angry at the original comments, angry at the footage of avoiding the question'.

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Mr Ratcliffe welcomed the opportunity to meet Mr Johnson in person, having only spoken to him over the phone.

Johnson had "made it clear that no stone should be left unturned" in securing her release, the statement added.

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