Iran: Triple citizen prisoner released under deal with UK is sent back to prison

Tehran, Iran

One of the three detained British-Iranians released under a deal signed by Britain has been returned prison in Tehranhis attorney told CNN on Friday.

Morad Tahbaz, who is also a US citizen, spent 48 hours “under house arrest” with an ankle shackle, according to his lawyer Hojjat Kermani, before being taken back to prison.

Other British Iranian nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori were published Wednesday and flew back to their home in England.

Tahbaz, an environmentalist who was first arrested in January 2018was released from Evin prison “on leave to his home in Tehran,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tahbaz’s lawyer told CNN that “security guards surrounded Morad’s home for 48 hours before taking him back to jail.”

On Friday, a UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “The Iranians have informed the British government that Morad was taken to Evin to have an ankle tag applied to him which should have been applied before his release. We hope to see him return to his home in the coming hours. Morad Tahbaz is a trinational and we are working closely with the United States to ensure Morad’s permanent release.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, left, and Anoosheh Ashoori, rescued from Iran, wave after landing at RAF Brize Norton in England March 17, 2022.

A US State Department spokesman told CNN: “Iran has made a commitment to Britain to furlough Morad Tahbaz. As the UK Government has said, the UK has been told that Morad was returned to Evin Prison only to be fitted with an ankle tag, after which he would be allowed to go home.”

The spokesman added that the US “is not a party to this agreement but would join Britain in considering anything but Morad’s immediate leave as a breach of Iran’s commitment”.

As of Saturday morning, CNN cannot confirm whether Tahbaz has been released from prison and placed back under house arrest.

The US is “urgently consulting” with the UK on appropriate responses and said it would continue “working day and night to ensure the release of our wrongfully detained citizens, including American-British citizen Morad Tahbaz”.

The State Department spokesman added, “Put simply, Iran is wrongly holding innocent Americans and others and should release them immediately.”

Following the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori earlier this week, Truss announced Britain had settled a decades-old £400 million ($524 million) debt to Iran, which Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian denied, to be associated with the release from prison on Wednesday. Iran: Triple citizen prisoner released under deal with UK is sent back to prison

Chris Estrada

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