British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran
LONDON (AP) — The husband of a British woman imprisoned in Iran said Sunday that his wife discovered lumps in her breasts and he urged the British government to step up efforts to free her.
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, had seen a doctor but was on “the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38-year-old dual British-Iranian citizen, is serving a five-year sentence for plotting the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government.
Her husband spoke by phone Sunday to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has been under fire for making misleading statements about the case.
Earlier this month, Johnson told lawmakers that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” when she was detained last year. Her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, insist she was on vacation taking her toddler daughter to meet relatives in Iran.
Johnson later apologized for his comment, but Iran’s state broadcaster said it was an implicit admission of guilt.
Ratcliffe said his wife had been brought to tears by “lies” about her case on Iranian television.
On Sunday, British Environment Secretary Michael Gove said “I don’t know” when asked what Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran.
Family and friends say the confusion has put Zaghari-Ratcliffe at risk of a longer prison sentence.
Johnson’s blunder has triggered calls for his resignation.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Prime Minister Theresa May should fire Johnson for “embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk.”
Richard Ratcliffe said he did not think his wife’s case would be helped by resignations. He has urged Johnson to travel with him to Tehran to press for her release and said Sunday the foreign secretary was seriously considering the suggestion.