UK PM calls on Iran to release Anoosheh Ashoori

UK PM calls on Iran 'to do the right thing' and release British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori
2 min read
13 August, 2021
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Iran to release British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori on the fourth anniversary of his "wrongful detention".
The UK PM said Anoosheh and the other British nationals were "unjustly imprisoned in Iran" [source: Getty]

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Iran to release British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori on the four year anniversary of his detention. 

Ashoori was arrested by agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence when visiting his elderly mother in Tehran in 2017. 

The dual national was allegedly subject to torture while in prison and forced to sign "confessions", according to Amnesty International. He was given two sentences of 10 and 2 years on charges of "cooperating with a hostile state against the Islamic Republic" and “obtaining illicit funds".

On Friday, Johnson said he wanted Iran to do "the right thing" and release 67-year-old Ashoori, a retired engineer from south London.

"I reiterate my call for Iran to do the right thing and release him immediately. Anoosheh and the other British nationals unjustly imprisoned in Iran must be able to return to their families in the UK," Johnson tweeted.

Echoing that call, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab decried Ashoori's continued detention as "wholly unjustified".

"We are doing everything we can to secure the release of Anoosheh and other dual British nationals who have been arbitrarily detained. We call on President Raisi’s administration to start to set a new course for Iran by releasing them," said Raab. 

British-Iranian relations are fraught for many reasons, including  the issue of dual nationals detained in the Islamic Republic. The British government says that it is hostage-taking by Iran aimed at pressuring the UK.

Iranian's hardline President Ebrahim Raisi was sworn into power after an election victory in June. Raisi is under US sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses when he was a judge.