Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has told Boris Johnson how she lived in the “shadow of his words” for “the best part of four-and-a-half years”.
The freed British journalist told the Prime Minister directly how his blundering comments while he was Foreign Secretary had affected her detention in Iran when the two met yesterday.
Johnson was widely criticised for wrongly telling MPs in 2017, while he was Foreign Secretary, that Zaghari Ratcliffe had been teaching journalism in Tehran.
The move which was widely seen as complicating her legal case and lengthening her detention.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was held 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 this year alongside fellow British prisoner Anousheh Ashouri after intensive behind-the-scenes negotiations.
Her MP Tulip Siddiq said the Prime Minister looked “quite shocked” when Zaghari-Ratcliffe told him in a Downing Street meeting how she had been affected by his comments.
Siddiq told broadcasters: “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.”
It was the first time the British-Iranian woman had come face to face with Johnson, who was one of five Foreign Secretaries to come and go during her six year detention in Tehran.
The Prime Minister did not apologise for his handling of her case during an hour-long meeting.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived at Downing Street at lunchtime with her daughter Gabriella, 7, and her husband Richard, who campaigned tirelessly for her release.
She did not speak to the waiting press but her husband 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”.
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