Just two days free, Iran jails British-US activists again

A British-US-Iranian citizen who was just released from an Iranian prison two days ago was sent back to prison on Friday, his family said.

Morad Tahbaz was temporarily released Wednesday (16/3), the same day two British-Iranian nationals, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, were released and allowed to return to the UK.

The details of their release agreement are less clear. But when Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori were released, Iranian state media reported that Britain had paid Iran its “long overdue $530 million debt to Tehran.”

Tahbaz, an environmental activist, was detained along with seven others in January 2018 and accused of spying on strategic Iranian areas.

“The family is feeling uneasy at this time,” his family said in a statement.

“We believe that the British government has taken responsibility for securing his release… After the euphoria of the return of Nazanin and Anoosheh, there is concern that the British government is not pressuring Iranian authorities for Morad’s freedom in the same way.”

Rights groups have accused Tehran of arresting dual nationals as a bargaining chip. Iran denies the accusations. [vm/pp]