Daughter of British-American national detained in Iran for protesting outside Foreign Ministry


The daughter of a British-American national detained by Iran has claimed her family had been ‘misinformed’ and ‘deceived’ about the possibility of her release, as she prepares to stage a protest outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs.

Wildlife defender Morad Tahbaz, 66, was released from custody after being released last month, the day charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and retired civil engineer Anoosheh Ashoori were released.

His daughter Roxanne said her family had been led to believe he would be included in any deal negotiated at the time, alongside the two dual nationals.

But she said her father’s leave “had no merit”, and he remains “descending in prison” to this day.

She plans to hold a protest outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on Wednesday morning, where she will call on Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to “bring my dad home.”

Richard Ratcliffe, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, said he hoped the UK was ‘still working on a breakthrough’ for Mr Tahbaz, as well as British-Iranian national Mehran Raoof, also detained in Iran.

He said: “It is always bittersweet whenever there is a release for those who remained in Evin prison. Nazanin and I remember the feeling – other people’s happiness that can seem so gloomy, can leave you staring at a wall of questions: “Why? Haven’t we counted enough?

“I hope the UK is still working on a breakthrough for Morad and Mehran that we are not aware of, and that the embassy will see them in Evin and make sure they are safe in the meantime.

“I also hope that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will stay true to her word on the release of Nazanin and continue the work to end hostage diplomacy and also hold those who practice it accountable. These games are hurting too many lives.

Roxanne Tahbaz, daughter of Morad Tahbaz, with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe at a press conference in March (Victoria Jones/PA)

In March, the UK said it had secured Mr Tahbaz’s leave, as well as the release and return of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashoori.

It came after the British government finally agreed to settle a £400million debt to Iran dating back to the Shah’s rule in the 1970s.

But two days later, Mr. Tahbaz was forced to return to Evin prison.

The FCDO went on to say he was moved to a residential location in Tehran, but Ms Tahbaz said he was taken back to the prison soon after.

Ahead of Wednesday’s protest, she said: “Without a shadow of a doubt, government officials led us to believe that our father would be included in any deal reached alongside Nazanin and Anoosheh last month.

“Even the leave, which was publicly announced by the Foreign Office, had no merit, as my father is still languishing in prison.

“The way this was handled made us feel completely betrayed – we were misinformed, misled and let down.

“There is only one way for Boris Johnson and Liz Truss to right this wrong and restore the trust we once had in our government – they must urgently renegotiate with the Iranian authorities, and this time ensure that they bring our father and mother home without delay.”

Mr Ashoori said: “I have said many times since my return that I cannot fully savor my freedom while Morad, Mehran and others languish behind bars after enduring the same travesty of justice as I did. have suffered.

“I’m going to keep talking about it until Morad and the others are back, just like my amazing family did for me.”

Mr Tahbaz, who also has Iranian nationality, was arrested during a crackdown on environmental activists in January 2018.

He is a prominent conservationist and board member of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect endangered species.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison along with his colleagues on vague charges of spying for the United States and undermining Iran’s security.

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Amnesty International UK, said: “After the euphoria of the release of Nazanin and Anoosheh, Morad and fellow Briton Mehran Raoof have been left behind. Liz Truss dropped Morad and dropped Mehran.

“The government’s attitude appears to be ‘the job is done’ now that Nazanin and Anoosheh are back – but that won’t be over until all arbitrarily imprisoned UK nationals are free and back home.”

Mr Tahbaz’s wife, Vida, has also been placed under a travel ban by Iranian authorities, Amnesty said.

The FCDO has been approached for comments.

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