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Nazanin finally meets Boris Johnson after prison hell - and he doesn't apologise

By Lizzy Buchan

Boris Johnson has met Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe for the first time since she was released from Iran - but he didn't apologise for his handling of her case.

It is the first time the British-Iranian mum has come face to face with Mr Johnson, who was one of five Foreign Secretaries to come and go during her six year detention in Tehran.

Mr Johnson was widely criticised for wrongly telling MPs in 2017 that she had been teaching journalism, which was credited with complicating her legal case.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on trumped up national security charges in 2016 after a holiday to introduce her young daughter Gabriella to her parents.

She was finally freed in March alongside fellow Brit Anousheh Ashouri after intensive behind-the-scenes talks.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (L), her daughter Gabriella (R) and her husband Richard Ratcliffe outside No 10 Downing Street (AFP via Getty Images)

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived at Downing Street at lunchtime with her daughter Gabriella, 7, and her husband Richard, who campaigned tirelessly for her release.

Mr Ratcliffe told journalists afterwards that she raised the PM's journalism comments with him during the hour-long meeting in Downing Street.

He said his wife told the PM that "I lived with that phrase and of course it was a mistake but it lingered".

Asked if the PM apologised for his gaffe, Mr Ratcliffe said: "Not explicitly".

But he said he wasn't angry, adding: "I'm relieved she's home."

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived at Downing Street at lunchtime with her daughter Gabriella, 7, and her husband Richard (Andrew Parsons)

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who has campaigned for her release, said Mr Johnson looked "quite shocked" when she told him she had lived in the "shadow of his words" for "the best part of four-and-a-half years".

She said: "I was really proud of Nazanin. She was sitting next to the Prime Minister, and she told him very clearly and categorically that his words had had a big impact on her and that she had lived in the shadow of his words for the best part of four-and-a-half years.

"I have to say the Prime Minister looked quite shocked, I think, when she said that, but I was really proud she did say that because she wanted to make it clear to him that she's happy now, she's grateful, she appreciates the fact that she is home now, but there was a time when the words had a big impact."

(Getty Images)

Ahead of the meeting, Boris Johnson's spokesman was asked if he would apologise to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The spokesman said: "It's important to remember that it was the Iranian government who were responsible for her unfair detention."

Mr Johnson apologised for his mistake back in 2017, telling MPs: " I apologise for the distress and anguish caused to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family."

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was finally released after lengthy negotiations with the Iranian Government, with help from the Gulf state of Oman.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was finally released after lengthy negotiations with the Iranian Government (Andrew Parsons)

A key stumbling block was a 40-year row over Britain's sale of tanks to the Shah of Iran in the 1970s.

The UK refused to send the tanks after the Iranian revolution, when the Shah was overthrown.

Britain paid the £394 million debt in March, which appeared to unlock the process and allowed the release of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashouri, who had been detained in 2017.

Morad Tahbaz, an American-Iranian national, who also holds British citizenship, remains in Iran.

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Dive Deeper:
Boris Johnson fails to apologise as he finally meets Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
BORIS Johnson failed to offer an apology for his handling of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran when he finally met…
Blundering Boris Johnson told by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe how 'she lived in the shadow of his words'
The freed British-Iranian journalist gave it straight to the Prime Minister over his previous comments that were widely seen as…
PM does not apologise after Nazanin tells him she lived in ‘shadow of his words’
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband said Boris Johnson did not specifically apologise for his mistake during her Iranian detention.
Aid worker detained in Iran tells Boris Johnson she ‘lived in the shadow of his words’
Boris Johnson made no apology to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after she told him she had “lived in the shadow of his…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and family meet Prime Minister in Downing Street
MP Tulip Siddiq said the British-Iranian dual national deserved ‘to hear directly’ from Boris Johnson why it took so long…
No apology from Boris Johnson, after hostage Nazanin tells him she ‘lived in the shadow of his words’
Former detainee urges prime minister to answer questions at inquiry
Get all your news in one place