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UK PM Johnson meets British-Iranian aid worker for first time since her release

FILE PHOTOT: British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reacts during a news conference hosted by the local MP, Labour's Tulip Siddiq, in the Macmillan Room at Portcullis House, London, Britain, following her release from detention in Iran last week, March 21, 2022. Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday met Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian aid worker who was released after six years of detention in Iran and who has criticised the government for not getting her home sooner.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned to London in March when she was released along with another dual national after Britain repaid a historic debt.

It was the first time she had met Johnson, who was foreign secretary between 2016-2018.

She has criticised the length of time it took to secure her release, asking in March, shortly after she returned, "how many foreign secretaries does it take for someone to come home? Five?"

Asked ahead of Friday's meeting if Johnson would apologise to Zaghari-Ratcliffe, his spokesman said: "It's important to remember that it was the Iranian government who were responsible for her unfair detention."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested by Revolutionary Guards at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016, while trying to return to Britain with her then 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella, from an Iranian New Year's trip to see her parents. She was convicted of "plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment".

Her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, denied the charge. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charity that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters.

Tulip Siddiq, an opposition lawmaker representing Zaghari-Ratcliffe's constituency who campaigned for her release, said that she "deserves to hear directly from the prime minister about why it took so long to get her home".

Siddiq had said she was also going to raise the case of Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American environmentalist who also holds British citizenship who remains detained in Iran.

"Never again must the government allow British citizens to be taken hostage with so little done to secure their release and so few reprisals for those responsible," Siddiq said in a statement.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Dive Deeper:
Released Aid Worker Tells UK’s Johnson His Error Worsened Her Iran Detention
British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on Friday told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that an incorrect comment he made as foreign…
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…
Johnson's false claim had 'lasting impact' on dual-national held in Iran
London (AFP) - A British-Iranian woman freed after six years' imprisonment in Tehran rebuked Prime Minister Boris Johnson in person…
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…
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…
Nazanin finally meets Boris Johnson after prison hell - and he doesn't apologise
Boris Johnson was widely criticised for wrongly telling MPs in 2017 that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching journalism in Iran,…
Get all your news in one place