British government makes ‘false promises’ over imprisoned Iranian-British man, daughter says
LONDON: The daughter of an Iranian-British-American tri-national imprisoned in Iran has accused the UK government of ignoring her family’s case after delivering a Father’s Day message to the UK Foreign Office.
Roxanne Tahbaz went to the Foreign Ministry to request further information on the case of her father, Morad Tahbaz, 66, who has been imprisoned by Tehran for more than four years.
She claimed her call was transferred to an official, who said he would pass on her message.
She said: ‘It was incredibly disheartening. Father’s Day is the hardest day of all. Although every day is difficult, special times like holidays and birthdays are especially difficult for me and my siblings.
“Our father has been unjustly imprisoned in Iran for almost four and a half years, but (UK Foreign Secretary) Liz Truss and the government have still not told us what they are doing to secure his release.”
Roxanne Tahbaz said the Foreign Office was offering token gestures in an attempt to delay her appeals.
“There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency – there’s no suggestion that the Foreign Secretary and his office feel the need to get my father out of jail immediately,” she added.
“On Thursday, Amnesty accompanied me as I brought a Father’s Day card and a gift to the Foreign Office. To our dismay, neither the Minister of Foreign Affairs nor a minister met with us. Instead we were greeted by another member of their team who said they would convey our concerns.
“It looks like the government is continually trying to appease us with jokes and false promises.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would communicate with the sister-in-law of Morad Tahbaz as well as with his wife.
In March, the British government struck a deal with Iran to secure Morad Tahbaz’s leave, as well as the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori.
That deal involved negotiations over a decades-old military debt totaling almost $500 million owed by the UK to Iran.
However, just after being granted leave, Tahbaz – a prominent conservationist who was arrested during a crackdown in 2018 – was forced back into prison.
Roxanne Tahbaz has long campaigned for her father’s release and has repeatedly claimed the UK Foreign Office ignored his pleas for help.
After a protest in April, she said, “We want them to keep their promise to us.
“We were always led to believe over the last four years that he had to be part of any deal they made, and we were led to believe he would come home as part of that.”