'Misinformed, misled and abandoned': Protest at Foreign Office for British man jailed in Iran

Roxanne Tahbaz, holds a placard for her father Morad Tahbaz, who is jailed in Iran, during a protest

Roxanne Tahbaz, holds a placard for her father Morad Tahbaz, who is jailed in Iran, during a protest outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The daughter of a British man jailed in Iran staged a protest outside the Foreign Office on Wednesday (April 13).

Morad Tahbaz, who has family links to Hampstead, is a US national in addition to his UK nationality and Iranian family background. He is a wildlife conservationist and was arrested in 2018 – along with seven others – and has been jailed for more than four years.

Selfie of older man with white beard

Morad Tahbaz. - Credit: Private

In 2019 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on vague charges of spying for the US and undermining Iran’s security.

The 66-year-old's daughter, Roxanne, has accused the UK government of betraying her father.

He suffers from serious health conditions, including a history of cancer, and the Iranian authorities have prevented him from receiving the medical care he needs.

In addition to his imprisonment, Morad's wife Vida has been placed under a travel ban by the Iranian authorities.

From 10.30am on Wednesday, Roxanne stood outside foreign secretary Liz Truss's office holding a placard that read “bring my dad home”.

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The protest took place exactly four weeks after the release of West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori last month.

(left to right) Roxanne Tahbaz, the daughter of Morad Tahbaz, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard

(left to right) Roxanne Tahbaz, the daughter of Morad Tahbaz, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe during a press conference hosted by MP Tulip Siddiq - Credit: PA

It was expected that Morad would be released at the same time, and his family believe the UK government did not do enough to prevent the Iranian authorities returning him to jail after 48 hours of “furlough release” in Tehran.

Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe said: “It is always bittersweet whenever there’s a release for those who are left behind in Evin prison. Nazanin and I remember the feeling – others’ happiness that can feel so bleak, can leave you staring blankly at a wall of questions: ‘Why? Did we not matter enough?’"

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with husband Richard and daughter Gabriella

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with husband Richard and daughter Gabriella - Credit: Ratcliffe family/@tulipsiddiq

Roxanne said: “Without a shadow of a doubt, government officials led us to believe that our father would be included in any deal that was being made alongside Nazanin and Anoosheh last month.

"The manner in which this has been handled has made us feel completely betrayed - we’ve been misinformed, misled and abandoned."

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The Iranian Government committed to releasing Morad from prison on an indefinite furlough. Iran has failed to honour that commitment.

“Continuing his horrendous ordeal sends a clear message to the international community that Iran does not honour its commitments. We continue to urge the Iranian authorities at every opportunity to release him immediately.”