Once again, with Boris Johnson, it seems the right thing has only happened for the wrong reason.
Johnson ruined Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s chance of release from prison in Iran back in 2018 when, as Foreign Secretary, he stupidly said she had done exactly what the Iranian authorities had jailed her for doing – running a course in journalism. In fact she had been visiting her family.
She has spent five and a half years in prison. Her original five year term ended in March last year but she was immediately charged with a further crime of propaganda activities against the government and jailed for another year on April 26, 2021. So her jail term is nearly spent in any case.
Today (March 15), Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP, Tulip Siddiq, tweeted that her constituent’s passport had been returned to her, suggesting that a return to the UK is likely in the near future.
Sadly, it does not seem that this turn of events has been brought about by any change in the prisoner’s circumstances – or indeed, any negotiations on her behalf by the UK government.
It seems to relate to an alleged £400 million debt incurred by the UK government after an order for military equipment was cancelled because of the revolution in Iran in the late 1970s.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard related this to her case some time ago, saying Iran was refusing to release her until the debt was paid.
Now, reports suggest Boris Johnson has paid up – not to free Nazanin, though, but because the Russo-Ukrainian war means he wants access to cheap oil:
Just for a moment you hope that the government has simply done something right by paying off the £400 million debt to Iran to have Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released, and then you realise they were just being cynical about getting Iranian oil.
— Richard Murphy (@RichardJMurphy) March 15, 2022
Amazing how when there is a need for oil and gas, America decides it might lift sanctions on Venezuela and the UK decides it does owe Iran £400 million after all. Who knew our "western values" were so flexible?
— RD Hale (@Skye_City) March 15, 2022
UK has finally paid the debt of £400m – a debt it acknowledged was due years ago – to Iran and so Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has had her passport returned.
In other news, the UK is reaching across the world for alterative supplies of oil…
— Gerz 🇺🇦 (@GHNeale) March 15, 2022
Johnson bought his way out of his disgusting insult to this innocent woman who has spent yrs of hell denied seeing her child grow up, denied so many human rights and the tories are bragging she is out he is a disgusting disgrace. I am glad she ha her passport is it still in date? https://t.co/k0IDkOEFaC
— Isobel_Waby DEFEND CORBYN (@Isobel_waby) March 15, 2022
That’s a good question to ask Boris Johnson: “Well, is it?”
While we wait for his answer, let’s consider some of his remarks about the case today – in the light of the evidence that he has paid off the debt because he wants oil – not Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe (these are from the BBC report).
Boris Johnson said it would not be sensible to comment “until we’ve got a final result” but said “delicate discussions are going on”.
Obviously he’s not even referring to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe but to whether he’ll secure any cheap oil for the UK. That’s the subject of the “delicate discussions”. Otherwise this comment doesn’t make sense.
You can see corroboration of that interpretation here:
Mr Johnson said he did not want to “tempt fate” and said that negotiations about “all our difficult consular cases have been going on for a long time”.
He didn’t want to discuss Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe individually and couldn’t say more than he did, because there was nothing to say.
Then, pressed on Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe individually, he came out with this classic fluff:
The prime minister added: “Everybody wants Nazanin home, we’ve been working on that for a long, long time, I do not want to do anything to interrupt conversations right now.”
This is a stock phrase that you will hear repeated whenever there is nothing new to say on a subject.
It indicates that all the work has been about securing oil – at whatever cost is necessary – and none of it has been about the UK citizen who has been wrongly jailed for nearly six years.
And the fact that Johnson is still groping for credit tells us he is a despicable excuse for a human being.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: