Fears grow for Brit in Iran as Michael Gove comes under-fire

Michael Gove

Michael Gove Credit Reuters

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has seen a medical specialist after finding lumps on her breasts and is "on the verge of a nervous breakdown", her husband, Richard, said.

Johnson's comments, made during a Commons committee meeting, were seized upon by Iranian state media as a "confession" but Gove has insisted it is the "extremists" in Iran who are to blame for her incarceration, not the carelessness of his Tory ally.

After Mr Gove's remark on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he was told her husband's explanation.

Mr Ratcliffe said he did not think the Foreign Secretary should quit because he had a "crucial role" in fighting for his wife and that "more instability" would not be in her interests. "Her family should be the people who are in our thoughts at this time".

"He's a good foreign secretary", Mr Davis told Sky News.

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He claimed there was an "effort to shift the blame away from those who are really at fault here, and that is the Iranian regime". "He also told Nazanin that given her family history of breast cancer, and the fact that many cancers are related to stress, and given the level of anxiety Nazanin has been exposed to over an extended period, her situation should be kept under close surveillance". Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was employed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation when she was arrested by Iran's Revolutionary Guard last April while visiting her parents with her two year-old daughter, Gabriella.

On Wednesday, Iranian state TV IRIB said Johnson amounted to an unintentional confession.

Mr Johnson is due to travel to Iran in the coming few weeks and is expected to raise the issue of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's imprisonment with the Iranian authorities.

She has been suffering from sharp stabbing pains in her breasts for some time.

Mr Johnson has since said the government has "no doubt" she was on holiday "and that was the sole goal of her visit".

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It comes as another Cabinet minister, Michael Gove, was also criticised for comments about the jailed Briton.

The MP for Hampstead and Kilburn has been campaigning for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, since she was arrested at the airport in Tehran 18 months ago.

Mr Corbyn told the Observer Mr Johnson should be sacked as foreign secretary for "undermining our country" and "putting our citizens at risk".

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is also understood to have expressed her anger over Boris Johnson's blunder last week when he incorrectly claimed she was in Iran "training journalists".

The wording of Labour's question is not yet known but it is thought, if it is approved by the Speaker, it will be answered by a junior minister in Mr Johnson's department after 2.30pm on Monday.

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He said the "embarrassing" behaviour over Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe case, coupled with the Foreign Secretary's "colonial throwback" attitude meant he should resign.

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