Morad Tahbaz, an environmental campaigner held in Iran, has ended a week-long hunger strike, his daughter said Tuesday, reiterating his family’s frustration with the UK government’s handling of the case.
Tahbaz, 69, who holds British, US and Iranian citizenship, remains in prison in Tehran while two other UK-Iranians — Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori — were released and flew home earlier this month.
His daughter, Roxanne Tahbaz, said relatives were told by the foreign ministry in London at the time that Iran had agreed to release him on unrestricted furlough and that his wife would be allowed to travel there to visit him.
“Since then, neither has come to pass — he’s still in prison, and she’s still on the travel ban,” Roxanne Tahbaz told BBC radio.
She said her father had initially been released from Tehran’s Evin prison but only for about 24 hours.
Following his return to jail, her father began a hunger strike at the start of last week but ended it Monday at the request of relatives over health concerns, Roxanne Tahbaz said.
“He’s had loads of health complications due to cancer that he suffered before and he needed quite regular monitoring and treatment,” she added.
“Obviously we’re quite keen to have him home to make sure that he does have that, so that his long-term health isn’t further impaired.”
Roxanne Tahbaz said UK officials had conveyed that her London-born father’s case was being complicated by Iran considering him American.
But she criticized the UK government for failing to bring him home along with Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori.
“Ultimately he’s stuck in this political chess game, but as a pawn, and we feel that no-one’s really protecting him now because this country’s left him behind,” she added.
“It was really essential to us, and I think to him as well, that he not be forgotten and left there to wither away.”
A foreign ministry spokesperson said officials were “urgently raising” Tahbaz’s case with Iranian authorities.
“He must be allowed to return to his family’s home in Tehran immediately, as the Iranian government committed to doing,” the spokesperson added.