Ex-Iran Detainee Anoosheh Ashoori Is “Extremely” Angry With Boris Johnson
Exclusive: Anoosheh Ashoori, who was detained in Iran for five years until his release alongside Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in March, has said he is “extremely” angry with Boris Johnson over his handling of the case.
In a new interview with The House magazine, the 68-year-old former Iran prisoner said: “The Iranians got their £400m. The government is getting the credit. Me and Nazanin are sitting there like ducks. We are the losers here – in more ways than one.”
Ashoori’s wife, Sherry Izadi, said she wrote to Boris Johnson when her husband was in Evin prison but never received a reply.
“We sent him letters. Janet [Daby, their MP] sent him letters as well. I directly sent him requests. We sent a request to the Foreign Office for a meeting, for anything. No, he never once – he didn't even ring us,” she said.
Ashoori’s MP, the Labour representative for Lewisham East Janet Daby, told The House the government should have “more integrity” and claimed ministers facilitated the release of dual nationals Ashoori and Zaghari-Ratcliffe because they needed a “good story”.
“They needed something positive, and this was a positive story. But it hasn't gone the way the Prime Minister wanted it to work, because he hasn't been able to meet [Ashoori] and get the credit for this situation, and rightly so. He shouldn't receive that credit,” the MP said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe met the Prime Minister in Downing Street last week. Her MP, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq, highlighted that Johnson failed to apologise for wrongly claiming that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran at the time of her arrest.
Ashoori told The House he has been asked to meet Johnson but has not accepted the invitation – and will refuse to do so until all British-Iranian nationals are released from unjust detention in Iran.
The retired civil engineer praised civil servants in the Foreign Office who “did a fantastic job” with his release but added: “My criticism is at the leadership itself, the apex of this hierarchy.
"Boris Johnson never responded to the pleas from my family. And then when I am back, he is asking me to meet him.
“If you ask a child, they will say that he must have his own interests in mind to do that. And the job is not finished. The task is not over, it is not accomplished, because only two people have returned.
“What about the rest? I am not going to meet him until all the rest have returned. And then I may consider whether I'm going to meet him.”
A government spokesman said: "From the Prime Minister down, this government has been committed to securing the release of Anoosheh Ashoori.
"It was always entirely in Iran's gift to do this, but UK ministers and diplomats were tireless in working to secure his freedom and are delighted that he is now home.
"Our consular team were in close regular contact with Anoosheh's family, with officials available to them at any time throughout his ordeal."
Read the full interview with Anoosheh Ashoori, Sherry Izadi and Janet Daby in the next issue of The House magazine.
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