Boris Johnson’s ignorance and hubris really do know no bounds.
Faced with first-hand information about the effect his personal stupidity had on a woman who had been falsely jailed in Iran, he affected shock – not that he had caused such harm, it seems, but that he was being criticised.
And he failed to apologise.
Johnson had been accused of lengthening her ordeal when, as foreign secretary in 2017, he wrongly claimed she had been training journalists at the time of her arrest in 2016.
Four days after Johnson’s damaging remarks as foreign secretary, she was summoned before an unscheduled court hearing, where his comments were cited as proof that she was engaged in “propaganda against the regime”.
The incident took place at a meeting between Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, together with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella, and Boris Johnson in Downing Street on Friday (May 13):
Mr Ratcliffe said his wife challenged the Prime Minister on “why did it take so long” to secure her release.
She also told him the “massive impact” his comments had on her, even saying the Iranian authorities brought Mr Johnson’s words up during interrogation shortly before her release.
Asked if the Prime Minister apologised, Mr Ratcliffe responded: “Not specifically.”
Nazanin’s MP, Tulip Siddiq, was also at the meeting:
“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,” Ms Siddiq said.
“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… there was a time when the words had a big impact.”
Ms Siddiq [said] that her constituent “didn’t mince words” with the Prime Minister, saying his comments had “haunted her for four-and-a-half years”.
The family urged Johnson to give evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the Government’s handling of the case. He said he would look at it, which probably means no.
They also pressed him to help free the other Iranian dual nationals still being held in detention.
Nobody seemed to touch on the alleged reason Nazanin was freed – that the UK had paid more than £400 million owed to Iran for the failed sale of military equipment back in the 1970s.
If that was in fact the case, then Johnson will not be able to repeat it. This Writer fears that his answer to the second request will also, therefore, be no.
So ends another contemptible contribution to the failures of the UK’s worst-ever leadership failure.
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