An Iranian Prisoner May Be In More Trouble After UK Minister's Comment

An Iranian Prisoner May Be In More Trouble After UK Minister's Comment
And some British politicians are calling for the prime minister to fire him because of it.

A number of high-profile politicians in the U.K. are calling for the prime minister to fire Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson after a statement he made about a British citizen imprisoned in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained since April 2016 on espionage charges. Last week, Johnson told a U.K. parliamentary committee she'd been in Iran "teaching people journalism."

Johnson's critics say his comments could be damaging in her case.

Iran does not have a good history with journalists. Reporters Without Borders says the country is one of the world's worst offenders when it comes to imprisoning and threatening journalists and their families.

And the United Nations recently urged Iran to stop harassing the staff and families of BBC Persian, which the country says was participating in a "conspiracy against national security."

Iran froze the assets of 150 people and opened a criminal investigation into BBC Persian staff members, former staff members and contributors.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family and employer have maintained she was in Iran visiting family. But Iran's state-run media have called Johnson's statement evidence of illegal activities. There are fears that could lead to a longer sentence.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is just one of many foreigners being held in Iran. A Reuters investigation found at least 30 people of dual nationalities have been imprisoned by the country's revolutionary guard in the past two years, mostly on charges of spying.

All of this serves as a backdrop for Johnson's upcoming visit to Iran, where he will discuss the issue of Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release with authorities directly.