Richard Ratcliffe heads to UN to demand talks for Nazanin’s release

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is heading to New York in a bid to secure a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations.

Boris Johnson has pledged to raise the jailed British mum’s plight when he meets face-to-face with President Rouhani this afternoon.

But Richard Ratcliffe wants to meet with the Iranian President or his foreign minister himself to demand his wife’s release.

Mr Ratcliffe has flown the US to launch a campaign group called Families Alliance Against State Hostage Taking.

A spokesperson said: “We will also again attempt to meet with President Rouhani or Foreign Minister Zarif while they are in New York.”

Speaking to reporters during his flight to New York for the summit, Mr Johnson also pledged to challenge President Rouhani to release jailed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when the pair meet face-to-face in the sidelines of the summit.

He said: “In the course of my talks with President Rouhani …I’ll not only be discussing Iran’s actions in the region but also the need to release Nazanin and others who are in our view being illegally and unfairly held in Tehran.”

He will also use the face-to-face meeting to confront President Rouhani over the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

And he wouldn’t rule out British troops being deployed to Saudi Arabia if tensions continue to escalate.

The UK Government has now attributed the recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities with “a high degree of probability.”

On Friday the Pentagon announced the US will send additional troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Yemen-based Houthi rebels, who are locked in a war with Saudi Arabia, have claimed responsibility for the attacks, which sent global oil prices soaring.

But a Senior UK Government Official said last night their claim of responsibility was “implausible” because of the sophistication and range of the weapons used in the attack. Iran has denied responsibility.

Mr Johnson said: “Clearly the difficulty is how do we organise a response – what is the way forward – and we’ll be working with our American and European Friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the gulf region.”

He wouldn’t rule out military action, but said it would only happen at the request of Saudi Arabia or the US.

He said: “On what kind of action we can take, you will have seen that the Americans are proposing to do more to help to defend SA and we will be following that.

“If we are asked by the Saudis or the Americans to have a role then we would consider in what way we could be useful.“

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