Britain's trade minister says Johnson did not make a gaffe over aid worker jailed in Iran

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson did not make a gaffe when he commented about the activities of jailed Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Britain’s trade minister Liam Fox said on Tuesday.

Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is seen in an undated photograph handed out by her family. Ratcliffe Family Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Johnson told the British parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Nov. 1 that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching people journalism, a statement that the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organisation for which she works, said was incorrect.

“I don’t believe that it is a serious gaffe. I think people in the Iranian regime … are using this as an excuse to hold a UK citizen in the most tenuous, if not illegal, circumstances,” Fox told Sky news.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving a five-year jail sentence after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, was brought into court on Saturday, three days after Johnson’s remarks, and accused by a judge of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” the Thomson Reuters Foundation said.

The charges against Zaghari-Ratcliffe are denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organisation that operates independently of Reuters News.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mike Collett-White

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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