British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has finally apologised for his remarks about a British-Iranian mother who has been jailed in #iran. His comments have been considered to have put the prisoner, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, at further risk than they already was. Many have called for Johnson to resign in the wake of his comments, as it goes beyond insensitivity or controversy and into the realm of endangerment.

Johnson apologised for what he has deemed a “mistake” on his part. He told a committee of foreign affairs officials that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been travelling in Iran with the purpose of “training journalists.” Now, the Foreign Secretary realises the error of his ways and is saying sorry, denying his previous doubts that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had simply been in Iran to visit family with her young daughter.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Many people worried that Johnson’s comments would place the British-Iranian detainee in harm’s way while she’s in the grasp of the Iranian #Government.

The family of Zaghari-Ratcliffe have previously said that the mistake made by Johnson, which he has no accepted was an error after all, has been taken into consideration by the Iranian government who are holding her and used as definitive evidence that they were right about her and that she was a threat to their regime. That can only mean trouble.

Downing Street considering diplomatic protection

The team on Downing Street, as reliable as they are, said on Monday that they would be considering the request by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband that she receive diplomatic protection by them. We’ll see where that goes, but at least they’re considering it and they’re not completely ignoring the plight of those in need.

Advertisements

Johnson spoke at the House of Commons when he gave his frank apology for the misunderstanding, saying that “people got a different impression.”

But when those “people” are the bureaucratic regime in charge of Iran and that “impression” is that their prisoner is an enemy of the state, it’s kind of a big deal. Johnson said, mainly for the peace of mind of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and for the Iranian government to take note, “I hope the House will understand with crystal clarity that Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was there on holiday,” adding that she was not in Iran “in any professional capacity.”

Johnson added that the “priority” of the committee in charge of foreign affairs in the British government is to “get [Zaghari-Ratcliffe] out of Iran on humanitarian grounds.” He admitted that the mix-up was “my mistake” and that he “should have been clearer” when addressing the matter. He apologised sincerely “for the distress and anguish” that his actions and words have caused to the prisoner and her family.

Advertisements

Johnson is hoping to right his ‘mistake’

In order to get the whole thing straightened out, Johnson has written to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to tell them that his original estimation about what Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran was wrong, a “mistake” on his part, and that the case should now be treated with the knowledge that she was simply on holiday in Iran to see family members from her Iranian side, and nothing else that could be construed as duplicitous.

Ideally, this will sort everything out and the Iranian regime will let Zaghari-Ratcliffe go and Johnson will look like a hero, but that will almost definitely not happen. Still, this is a step in the right direction when it comes to negotiating this situation with the Iranians. Johnson also added that this is a special case, as they normally don’t ask for prisoners to be released as it usually “exacerbates their position,” but this time, he’s willing to make an exception and he has called on Iran to release her. Fingers crossed. #Boris Johnson