British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran

This file photo taken on June 10, 2016 shows an undated handout image released by the Free Nazanin campaign in London on June 10, 2016 shows Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (L) posing for a photo with her daughter Gabriella. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2017

British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran

LONDON: The husband of a British woman imprisoned in Iran said Sunday that his wife discovered lumps in her breasts and he urged the British government to step up efforts to free her.
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, had seen a doctor but was on “the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38-year-old dual British-Iranian citizen, is serving a five-year sentence for plotting the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government.
Her husband spoke by phone Sunday to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has been under fire for making misleading statements about the case.
Earlier this month, Johnson told lawmakers that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” when she was detained last year. Her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, insist she was on vacation taking her toddler daughter to meet relatives in Iran.
Johnson later apologized for his comment, but Iran’s state broadcaster said it was an implicit admission of guilt.
Ratcliffe said his wife had been brought to tears by “lies” about her case on Iranian television.
On Sunday, British Environment Secretary Michael Gove said “I don’t know” when asked what Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran.
Family and friends say the confusion has put Zaghari-Ratcliffe at risk of a longer prison sentence.
Johnson’s blunder has triggered calls for his resignation.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Prime Minister Theresa May should fire Johnson for “embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk.”
Richard Ratcliffe said he did not think his wife’s case would be helped by resignations. He has urged Johnson to travel with him to Tehran to press for her release and said Sunday the foreign secretary was seriously considering the suggestion.


UAE airlines Emirates, Etihad resume limited passenger flights

Updated 17 min 36 sec ago

UAE airlines Emirates, Etihad resume limited passenger flights

  • Emirates said it operated a flight to London late Sunday, Frankfurt on Monday
  • Etihad tweeted it operated a flight to South Korean capital Seoul

DUBAI: UAE carriers Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways have resumed limited passenger flights two weeks after authorities grounded airlines as part of wider shutdowns to combat coronavirus.
The flights are open to foreign citizens who wish to leave the United Arab Emirates, but no incoming passengers are allowed. Foreign residents are banned from re-entering until at least mid-April.
Dubai’s Emirates, the largest carrier in the Middle East, said it operated a flight to London late Sunday and another to Frankfurt on Monday as part of its limited resumption.
It said in a statement that it plans to operate four flights a week to London and three weekly flights each to Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels and Zurich.
Wearing face masks and other protective gear at Dubai Airport on Monday, some 212 travelers to Frankfurt went through thermal screening before they boarded the aircraft.
Etihad said on its Twitter account that it resumed limited operation with a passenger flight to Seoul on Sunday.
The carrier said it will operate seven flights to Seoul, five to Singapore, six to Manila and two flights to Jakarta through April 21.
Last week Emirates said that cleaning and disinfection of the planes will take place after each flight.
UAE civil aviation authorities slapped a total ban on passenger flights two weeks ago at all the Gulf state’s airports.
But the two carriers on Thursday were issued approvals for limited flights to repatriate stranded foreigners.
The UAE has declared 2,076 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths.
It has imposed a sweeping lockdown, including the flight ban and closure of borders, shopping malls, entertainment centers and markets.
A 24-hour curfew was introduced on Thursday following a big jump in the number of cases in the UAE, where some 10 million people live.