UK's Johnson apologizes for distress caused by remarks on jailed aid worker in Iran

FILE PHOTO - Boris Johnson attends an informal meeting of European Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn, Estonia September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Picture

LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday apologized for causing distress with remarks about a Iranian-British aid worker jailed in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced to five years after being convicted by an Iranian court of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment. She denies the charges.

Johnson said on Nov. 1 that she had been teaching people journalism before her arrest in April 2016, contradicting her and her employer, who said she had been on holiday visiting her family.

“Of course I apologize for the distress, for the suffering that has been caused by the impression I gave that I believed she was there in a professional capacity. She was there on holiday,” Johnson told parliament.

“I do apologize. Of course I retract any suggestion she was there in a professional capacity.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden