Iranian state TV has said Boris Johnson's comments on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was an "unintended confession", contradicting the foreign secretary's own claims to parliament.
Last night a broadcast said the minister had inadvertently revealed "the real plot", offering "proof" that the Iranian government's charges against Zaghari-Ratcliffe were valid.
The British-Iranian woman was arrested last April and is currently serving a five year sentence, but now faces new charges of “propaganda against the regime”, which are thought to carry a further five year sentence.
The statement relates to Johnson's remarks to the foreign affairs select committee last week, when he said she was "simply teaching journalism", a claim vehemently denied by Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband and employer, who have consistently said she was on holiday with her daughter.
On Tuesday the MP for Uxbridge offered a mealy-mouthed apology after nearly an hour of being pressed on the matter, telling MPs he was "sorry if any words of mine have been so taken out of context, or so misconstrued, as to cause any kind of anxiety to the family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe".
He insisted his point had been that he "disagreed with the Iranian view that training journalists was a crime, not that I wanted to lend any credence to Iranian allegations that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been engaged in such activity", adding: "I accept that my remarks could have been clearer in that respect and I’m glad to provide this clarification."
Crucially, the foreign secretary added that his Iranian counterpart had confirmed his comments had "no bearing" on their decision to add to her sentence.
The foreign office has not yet commented on the matter. Johnson is now in the States, where he has continued to stress his words had been misconstrued.Let's