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Johnson’s litany of failures

December saw the conclusion of Richard Ratcliffe’s 21-day hunger strike, camped outside Parliament to protest the continued detention of his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in Iran. A barely disguised hostage situation which the British government has done pathetically little to resolve, especially given that the current Prime Minister is largely responsible for her continuing imprisonment. A false statement by Johnson in front of a committee in the Commons was instrumental in a court case against her, and now – 5 years after her initial detention – we are hardly any closer to securing her release.

To make matters worse, the British government owes Iran £400 million, a sum which has been tied to the release of UK nationals from Iran by ministers from both countries. It was Johnson himself who first linked paying this debt to releasing Zaghari-Ratcliffe, telling the media that this would be done. In an obviously-destined-to-fail attempt to rectify his mistake, Johnson failed to follow through. Money, which anyone in his position would know, couldn’t have been paid due to existing EU and British sanctions against Iran and the Iranian defence ministry, making any such payment impossible – a problem which Brexit of all things has rectified. Now that we are no longer tied to EU sanctions, we can pay this money.

But rather than do their duty and make every attempt to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe – and the many others who are being held in Iran under false or deeply suspicious circumstances – this government are desperate to muddy the waters around whether the government they owe money to is really the same one in power now.

Between that and tying up proceedings over whether interest is also owed on a payment dating all the way back to the 1970s, it is clear that this is naught but a delaying tactic; one which trades people’s freedom for what is an inconsequential amount of money to the British government.

Johnson, more than most, has a personal duty to do everything he can for those imprisoned without good cause in Iran; not only is he Prime Minister, but in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her daughter, he was massively influential in their continued detention. His words were used in the bullshit court case against them. He had a duty then and now, to speak carefully and to do everything in his power to bring them home. Not only did he fail, but he condemned them to years isolated from their family, their friends and their home. His actions are despicable and after all this time he still has not met with Richard Ratcliffe, the man who has been sitting outside the building where he works, for 21 nights and 21 days, starving himself in a desperate attempt to persuade this government to fix their mistakes. That this, and all that has been done in the last five years has not moved the Prime Minister to action, speaks to his utter lack of humanity.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Parsons via Parsons Media

By Adam Losekoot

Senior Opinion Editor, 'The Opinionator', sexy bastard and all round stand up guy

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