Welcome back Nazanin and Anoosheh


What a fantastic picture of two people and their families both of whom have been prevented from returning to the UK for half of a decade. Along with both of these people there has also been the release of Morad Tahbaz but he has not been freed from Iran yet. He was not only connected to England which is one of the reasons why he has not yet been released from Iran based on the information that can be seen here. The information regarding Anoosheh is available here and the information includes this text.

Six years ago, while visiting his mother in Iran, Anoosheh Ashoori left his wife a voicemail saying he would call her again later when he returned from the shops. Minutes later the father-of-two was snatched off the streets of Tehran, blindfolded and pushed into the back of a car. The retired engineer, who holds a British and an Iranian passport, has now finally left Iran having been serving a 12-year sentence after being convicted of spying for Israel, despite never having visited the country. His family, who live in London, believe their loved one was in effect being held hostage as part of a long-running argument over a £400m debt the UK owes Iran.

There is also information about Morad Tahbaz which is available here which includes this information.

Wildlife conservationist Morad Tahbaz has been released from detention and put “on furlough” Mr Tahbaz, who was born in Hammersmith in London, has been described by human rights organisation Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience”. He had been kept in Elvin prison in Tehran on charges of espionage after he used cameras to track endangered species as part of his conservation work. The British-American has been working with a number of wildlife conservationists in Iran to conduct research into endangered animals, including the Asiatic cheetah and Persian leopard.

There has of course been a huge amount of information on the theme of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe including in this blog in the past. Here is the first couple of paragraphs from Elizabeth Truss yesterday in Parliament speaking about all three of them and indeed about the wider issue.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the release of British nationals from detention in Iran—and, in parallel, on the repayment of the International Military Services debt. After years of unfair and unjust detention by the Government of Iran, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori have, this afternoon, finally been allowed to board a plane and leave the country. They are on their way home. They will land in the UK later today and will be reunited with their families. Morad Tahbaz has also been released from prison on furlough. I know that the whole House and the whole country will rejoice at this news, and share in the relief that their horrendous ordeal is over.

Nazanin was held in Iran for almost six years, and Anoosheh almost five. Morad has been in prison for four. Their release is the result of years of tenacious British diplomacy. I want to thank our Omani friends and Minister Badr for their help in bringing our nationals home. I pay tribute to the efforts of many in this House, particularly the hon. Members for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq), and for Lewisham East (Janet Daby). I pay tribute, as well, to my predecessors, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who have all worked hard to resolve this issue. Most of all, I want to express my admiration for the incredible resolve and determination shown by Nazanin, Anoosheh, Morad and their families. I have been in contact with them throughout, as have our specialist consular teams. Their suffering has moved us all, and so does the prospect of their being reunited with their loved ones once again, after this long and cruel separation.

It is important to reflect that a number of comments were made by MPs yesterday after the statement by Elizabeth Truss which were more credible than the few words she raised in her second paragraph that are made clear by me. Here is one very useful comment

Drew Hendry (SNP): The joy and relief will be felt by all our constituents who have been fully behind Richard Ratcliffe and the families getting their loved ones home. Given that there has been a solution in plain sight which the Foreign Secretary has been able to use today, does she agree that it should never again take two hunger strikes, the terms of three Prime Ministers, five Foreign Secretaries and five Ministers for the middle east to get a solution for people in this situation in future?

Here is the response to that statement from Elizabeth Truss

This is an issue that the Foreign Office has been working on tirelessly for many years. Given that there was a new Government in Tehran last summer, there was an opportunity to reset the relationship and start working on the issues afresh. We took that opportunity, but we were able to do so only because of the tireless work of Foreign Office officials. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kenilworth and Southam (Jeremy Wright) pointed out, it was not easy to pay the IMS debt in the current scenario. We found a way to do it, and I am very pleased that we have done so.

Perhaps our Government could find a way to achieve some other aspects now that they have found a way to return £400m that was held for many years. The issue began back in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher became our Prime Minister. There is some explanation here.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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