November 28, 2022

Persian News

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Iran REFUSES to release Morad Tahbaz despite Briton’s inclusion in Nazanin deal

“Mr Tahbaz was released on bail and with an electronic bracelet,” Hojat Kermani, Mr Tahbaz’s lawyer, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ILNA news agency on Wednesday. Mr Tahbaz and seven other conservationists were accused by Iranian authorities of collecting classified information about Iran’s strategic areas under the pretext of carrying out environmental and scientific projects. Mr Tahbaz, who was born in London and also holds a US passport, has always denied the charges.

In March, Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss said the UK Government had secured Mr Tahbaz’s furlough, along with the release and return of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashoori, after the Government finally agreed to settle a £400million debt to Iran dating from the1970s.

However, two days after the release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashoori, Mr Tahbaz was returned to prison.

Speaking about Mr Tahbaz’s case in the Commons on March 16, Ms Truss said: “It is a very very difficult situation. Morad Tahbaz is a tri-national. We pushed very hard to get Morad out of prison.

“I have been in touch today and he is now back in his house, with security in place, but with his family.”

READ MORE: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reveals she lost faith in Britain saving her

She added: “We will continue to work to get him back and work with the United States to make that happen.”

Only 48 hours later, Mr Tahbaz was returned to Evin prison in the Iranian capital.

A distressed member of the Tahbaz family said “an armed guard was present in the family home, and the visit was first for 10 hours and then extended to 24 hours and finally to 48 hours”.

Speaking at a protest outside the Foreign Office in April, she said: “We’re here today because it’s been one month since Nazanin and Anoosheh have come home, and my father’s still sitting in prison and my mother’s still on a travel ban.

“So we’re hoping to have the press and the media help us to call on the government and on the Foreign Secretary [Liz Truss] to keep her promise and bring him home to us, so we can be reunited as a family.”

Ms Truss made it clear in interviews that although she was seeking Mr Tahbaz’s release along with that of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashoori, she was not prepared to make it a condition of the payment of the £400m debt to Iran that all three were released.

An earlier negotiation between the Iranians and the Foreign Office then led by the then-foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, broke down in January 2021 when Mr Tahbaz insisted his release should be part of the deal.

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