Johnson to raise jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case in Iran trip

Johnson to raise jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case in Iran trip

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Boris Johnson will raise the case of a British mother jailed in Iran when he travels to the country this weekend – his first trip there as Foreign Secretary.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian national from north London, was sentenced to five years in prison in the country in 2016, over allegations of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government – charges she denies.

:: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: A timeline

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested during a family holiday, a trip in which the 38-year-old was taking her baby daughter Gabriella to meet her parents.

She is due to face fresh charges of “spreading propaganda” during a court appearance on Sunday.

:: Richard Ratcliffe: My fight to free Nazanin from jail in Iran

Mr Johnson has been under intense pressure to act to secure Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.

The Foreign Secretary was widely criticised after incorrectly telling a parliamentary committee that she had been training journalists in Iran, later acknowledging that this was not the case.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard, had urged Mr Johnson to take him to Iran, but Sky News understands Mr Ratcliffe will not be going.

Mr Johnson’s trip to Iran will be the first visit by a British foreign secretary since 2015 and only the third since 2003.

Sky’s Diplomatic Editor Dominic Waghorn said the visit has been planned for “some time” as part of a bid by London and Tehran to improve relations.

Mr Johnson will meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, during the trip.

As well as the case of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Iran’s nuclear deal with the West is also expected to be on the agenda, an agreement that US President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said the trip comes at a “crucial time” and “provides an opportunity to discuss a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen, the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the current volatility in the Middle East”.

They added: “This is the first visit of the Foreign Secretary to Iran and we expect talks to cover a wide range of issues from the bilateral relationship to regional security.

“The government remains very concerned about all our dual nationals detained in Iran and has been doing everything it can to make progress on their cases, while approaching them in a way that we judge is in their best interests.

“The Foreign Secretary will urge the Iranians to release dual nationals where there are humanitarian grounds to do so.”

(c) Sky News 2017: Johnson to raise jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case in Iran trip