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Family of jailed British national in Iran demand to know why PM has failed to secure his release

Anoosheh Ashoori relatives say Boris Johnson has ‘never extended us the courtesy of sympathy or public recognition’

THE son of a British dual national jailed in Iran said today he holds PM Boris Johnson accountable for failures to secure his father’s release four years on. 

The family of Anoosheh Ashoori, 67, staged an “empty chair” protest outside Downing Street to demand the PM meet with them. 

The event marked exactly four years since Mr Ashoori was handed a 10-year prison sentence in 2017 after he was arrested during a family visit to the country on trumped-up charges. 

Despite making a formal request to meet with the PM over a year ago, the family say they are still waiting to speak with him. 

Mr Ashoori’s son Aryan said he holds Mr Johnson accountable. “Ultimately he is the Prime Minister so everything has to go through him,” he told the Morning Star after the protest.

“He’s never acknowledged my father by name. He’s never at all mentioned him. We take that as him being just useless and not doing his job.”

Mr Ashoori’s wife Sherry Izadi, who lives in south London, said it was incredible that the PM has “never extended us the courtesy of sympathy or public recognition.”
  
“Instead of celebrating birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and Christmases, our life has become an endless and sad cycle of missed milestones,” she said. 
  
“Our only wish is for this terrible ordeal to end and for Anoosheh to return home to his family who miss him beyond words.”
 
Mr Ashoori is being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. His cell is infested with rats, cockroaches, lice and bed bugs, his family said. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the continued detention of Mr Ashoori is “wholly unjustified,” and insisted the government was doing “everything we can” to release him and other dual British nationals. 

We call on Iran to end his suffering and allow him to return home to be reunited with his wife Sherry, and children, Aryan and Elika,” he said. 

But Amnesty International UK, which has been supporting the family, accused the government today of failing Mr Ashoori and his family. 

Interim CEO Sacha Deshmukh said: “It’s actually quite shocking that Anoosheh’s family have had to mount a protest outside Downing Street in an attempt to get the Prime Minister to meet them. 
 
“Anoosheh’s family shouldn’t be out in the street, they should be inside No 10 speaking directly to the PM and officials over how best to secure this man’s freedom.”
 
The human rights group called on ministers to grant Mr Ashoori diplomatic protection.

He is one of several jailed Iranian-British nationals who their families argue are being held hostage as part of a long-standing dispute over Britain’s £400 million debt to Iran. 

Also at the protest was Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has also been imprisoned in Iran for the past five years after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

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