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Boris Johnson.

There really isn’t even a shred of human decency about Boris Johnson, is there?

Today, responding to an urgent question on the situation regarding Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Mr Johnson said [boldings mine]:

“The British Government have no doubt that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran on holiday and that that was the sole purpose of her visit. As I said in the House last week, my remarks on the subject before the Foreign Affairs Committee could and should have been clearer. I acknowledge that words I used were open to being misinterpreted, and I apologise to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family if I have inadvertently caused them any further anguish.

If?

He has caused them further anguish. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard has already made that plain.

And there were other issues, as Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who asked the UQ, made clear:

“The Foreign Secretary argued last week that his comments to the Select Committee did not have “any connection whatever” with the latest threats by the Iranian authorities to extend Nazanin’s sentence, and that it was simply untrue to suggest otherwise. That is entirely contradicted by what was said by the Iranian courts last weekend, and by what was said on the Iranian judiciary’s website and on Iranian state TV. All of them said explicitly that the Foreign Secretary’s remarks were the basis of their renewed action against Nazanin. We know from the evidence of Richard Ratcliffe that when Nazanin was told of the remarks and saw how the Iranian authorities would exploit them, she became hugely distressed and upset. So will the Foreign Secretary today accept the impact that his words have had and the distress that has been caused to Nazanin, and apologise properly for that—apologise not for upsetting people, but for getting it wrong?

“Secondly, last week the Foreign Secretary was asked several times to do one very simple thing, and that was simply to admit that he had made a mistake—not that his remarks had been taken out of context or misconstrued, but that they were simply wrong. He has, so far, refused to make that clear, and that refusal was compounded yesterday by his good friend the Environment Secretary. Even after all the debate on this issue, the Environment Secretary still, incredibly, claimed that we “don’t know” why Nazanin is in Iran. We do.

“It is not good enough. If it is a matter of pride that the Foreign Secretary is refusing to admit that he made a mistake, I feel bound to say to him that his pride matters not one ounce compared to Nazanin’s freedom. After a week of obfuscation and bluster, will he finally take the opportunity today to state simply and unequivocally, for the removal of any doubt either here or in Tehran, that he simply got it wrong?”

Mr Johnson would not.

His refusal may be more shocking in the light of the fact that, according to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Mr Johnson had not been briefed – even badly – about her situation. When he made his irresponsible remark that he believed her to be teaching journalism, he simply made it up.

As you an imagine, nobody worth mentioning has anything good to say about the latest developments:

It has been suggested that, if Mr Johnson goes to Iran and manages to bring Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe back, he might be able to save his career.

But this matter has gone too far for that.

Mr Johnson has been incompetent, and compounded his failure by refusing to accept this.

If he is allowed to continue, it seems clear that he will only make matters worse.

And he won’t understand why everybody is angry about it.

Nothing I have heard since the weekend has changed my opinion.

Boris Johnson has to quit – or Theresa May must sack him, together with Michael Gove, who tried to defend him.


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