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Khan & Corbyn call for Boris Johnson to be sacked over diplomatic gaffes

Khan & Corbyn call for Boris Johnson to be sacked over diplomatic gaffes
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has joined calls for Boris Johnson to be sacked as UK Foreign Secretary over a series of diplomatic gaffes, the most recent of which involves a British-Iranian woman detained in Tehran.

Khan made the comments on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, echoing similar calls from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who accused the country’s top diplomat of “damaging Britain’s standing in the world” in a column in the Observer newspaper Sunday.  

Johnson has come under pressure following comments made to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee regarding the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian citizen imprisoned in Tehran on charges of sedition.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for Thomson Reuters Foundation, was visiting her parents with her infant daughter in April last year when she was arrested. During an appearance before the committee last week, Johnson wrongly claimed that she had been in the country “training journalists,” leading the Iranian regime to issue fresh charges against her.

“I think he has got to go,” Khan told BBC host Andrew Marr. "I think he is our Foreign Secretary whose job is diplomacy in the best interests of our country and if Theresa May was a strong Prime Minister she would have sacked him a long time ago."

RT.com has contacted the UK Foreign Office for comment.

Like Corbyn, Khan cited a number of Johnson’s most famous diplomatic blunders, including his recitation of a colonial-era poem at a sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar earlier this year, and his declaration at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference that the Libyan city of Sirte would become “the next Dubai” as soon as they clear the dead bodies away.”

In May, he sparked outrage among worshippers in a Sikh temple by discussing the whiskey trade, apparently unaware that alcohol is forbidden in some Sikh teachings.

Even before taking the job of foreign secretary, Johnson was no stranger to controversy. In 2015, he said then-US President Barack Obama’s Kenyan heritage meant he has an “ancestral dislike of the British empire.” In 2002, Johnson wrote a column for the Daily Telegraph in which he referred to black people as “piccaninnies.” The column also referenced the “watermelon smiles” of “tribal warriors” in west Africa.

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said that he “doesn’t know” why Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran.

Speaking during his own appearance on the Andrew Marr Show, Gove launched a defense of his Cabinet colleague before issuing a bizarrely non-committal response to the host’s question of why he thought Zaghari-Ratcliffe had gone to the country.

“One of the things I want to stress is that there is no reason why Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe should be in prison in Iran so far as any of us know. No evidence has been produced which suggests she should be detained,” he said.

When reminded that her husband Richard Ratcliffe said she was on a family holiday, Gove said: “In that case I take exactly her husband’s assurance in that regard.”

Sky News reports that Johnson spoke on the phone with Ratcliffe Sunday.