Boris Johnson calls for release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after new prison sentence

ITV News reporter Sejal Kaira outlines the UK's response to Iran's decision

Boris Johnson has called Iran’s decision to sentence Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to another year in prison “cruel, inhumane and wholly unjustified”, and vowed to work towards her release.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a UK-Iranian national, has also been banned from leaving Iran for another year on charges of “propaganda activities against the regime”.

In a tweet, the prime minister said: “Iran's decision to sentence Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to another year in prison is cruel, inhumane and wholly unjustified. She must be allowed to return to her family in the UK and we will continue to do all we can to get her home.”

Speaking to reporters earlier on Monday, Mr Johnson said he would work with the US to try to ensure Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release.

'I think it is wrong that she is there in the first place': Boris Johnson vows to work with America to secure release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe

He said: "Obviously we will have to study the detail of what the Iranian authorities are saying.

“I don’t think it is right at all that Nazanin should be sentenced to any more time in jail.

“I think it is wrong that she is there in the first place and we will be working very hard to secure her release from Iran, her ability to return to her family here in the UK, just as we work for all our dual national cases in Iran.

“The government will not stop, we will redouble our efforts, and we are working with our American friends on this issue as well.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told Emtedad news website on Monday: “Nazanin Zaghari was sentenced to one year in prison and one year ban from leaving the country on charges of propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

Jailed British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella Credit: Family handout

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 on charges of being a spy - something which her and her family have always denied.

She was sentenced to five years imprisonment for plotting to overthrown Iran’s regime.

She spent fours years in jail before being released on house arrest in March 2020 as coronavirus spread through Iran’s prison system.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab labelled the latest charges against Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe as "arbitrary" and called for her release.

Mr Raab said: “This is a totally inhumane and wholly unjustified decision.

“We continue to call on Iran to release Nazanin immediately so she can return to her family in the UK. We continue to do all we can to support her.”

Labour's Tulip Siddiq said the new jail sentence was a “terrible blow” for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family.

The MP added: “This is a terrible blow for Nazanin and her family, who have been hoping and praying that she would soon be free to come home.

“It is devastating to see Nazanin once against[sic] being abusively used as bargaining chip.

“We’ve been told the Government has been working behind the scenes to secure Nazanin’s release.

“These efforts have clearly failed and we deserve an urgent explanation from minsters about what has happened.”