United Kingdom to consider special status for United Kingdom woman detained in Iran


Richard Ratcliffe believes a change in the status of his wife's case would allow ministers to act "much more stridently" to support her. Tehran, which treats Zaghari-Ratcliffe exclusively as an Iranian, has indicated any such move would trigger a severe reaction.

"It is also important that I can go with him".

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is said to be close to a nervous breakdown. The idea was initially proposed by her husband and discussed with Johnson.

Downing Street said on Monday that the United Kingdom government was considering the possibility of giving Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection to help secure her release.

And he bluntly told the Foreign Secretary: "Your mistake in saying that Nazanin was in Iran training journalists - as opposed to the reality: that she was there on holiday with our daughter Gabriella, visiting her family - has raised the stakes for my wife".

"I reject any suggestion that she was there in a professional capacity", he said.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, serving a five-year jail sentence on charges of spying and trying to topple the Iranian establishment. She is staying with her grandparents in Tehran.

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He will speak to the Foreign Secretary at the Foreign Office at 10am, in a bid to help secure his wife's release from Iran.

The Iranian state broadcaster said this amounted to an "unintended admission" of her guilt. He is likely to accompany the foreign secretary on his imminent visit to Tehran so he can see his wife, who has been held largely in solitary confinement since April 2016. There are also fears she is developing cancer after finding lumps in her breasts.

The diplomatic protection issue was due to be explored at Johnson's meeting with Ratcliffe, the Foreign Office said.

The meeting will also discuss concerns about Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's health and Mr Johnson's plan to travel to Iran before the end of the year.

Yesterday, Mr Ratcliffe said he had had a "positive" 20-minute phone call with Mr Johnson, in which the Foreign Secretary had promised to meet him within the next few days.

Mr Johnson intends to use the meeting to outline to Mr Ratcliffe what the government is doing to secure his wife's release on humanitarian grounds. Her mood has become uncontrollable. "As Foreign Secretary, I would like you to instruct your department personally to give her that protection". Angry at the original comments, angry at the footage of avoiding the question'.

The foreign secretary has sought advice from officials to determine whether conferring the status could help, including what impact it would have on the support provided and the representations being made on Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's behalf, according to the United Kingdom government. This is a young mother who could die if the Foreign Secretary doesn't retract his comments promptly, if he doesn't go to Iran and get her back'.