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  1. ITV Report

Family vow to continue fight to free Nazanin

  • Watch Emma Wilkinson's report

The family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe say they will not give up hope of her release from an Iranian prison, after fears that comments made by the Foreign Secretary may have damaged her prospects of freedom.

Boris Johnson has faced calls to quit after telling a committee of MPs last week that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists in Iran, something her employer and her family insist is incorrect.

Mr Johnson has admitted he "could have been clearer" in his comments and was "sorry" if his remarks were misconstrued.

In the Commons he said the UK Government "has no doubt that she was on holiday" in Iran and that was the sole purpose of her visit and he insisted his remarks could provide no reason for lengthening her sentence.

He said he was concerned at suggestions from Tehran that his remarks last week to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee were being used as justification to increase Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's jail term.

Boris Johnson told MPs Nazanin was 'training journalists' in Iran

Before updating MPs in the Commons, Mr Johnson told his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif there was "no justifiable basis" for further legal action against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Mr Johnson's phone conversation with Mr Zarif came after Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving a five-year jail sentence for supposed involvement in a coup plot, was summoned before an Iranian court on Saturday to be told she was now facing allegations of "propaganda against the state".

My point was that I disagreed with the Iranian view that training journalists was a crime - not that I wanted to lend any credence to Iranian allegations that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been engaged in such activity.

I accept that my remarks could have been clearer in that respect and I'm glad to provide this clarification.

– Boris Johnson

He added: "Mr Zarif told me that any recent developments in the case had no link to my testimony last week and he would continue to seek a solution on humanitarian grounds."

Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin's husband, said Mr Johnson's comments were "pretty much what I was asking for".

He told the Press Association "that's not an acknowledgement of error but it is a clarification" and an "important correction".

Richard and Nazanin's three-year-old daughter, Gabriella, remains with her maternal grandparents in Iran, after initially having her passport confiscated. Richard is unable get a visa to go and visit her.

Barbara Ratcliffe, Richard's mother, has been campaigning in her home town of Fleet, Hampshire, trying to raise awareness of Nazanin's situation.

She said the future still remains very uncertain but that the family will not give up hope.

I don't think any of us could keep going if we didn't have a hope that she was coming out. We went on holiday in the summer and booked a cottage in Devon which had enough room for Richard, Naz and Gabriella, should Naz be out. Everything we plan includes her.

– Barbara Ratcliffe

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