Iranian-British academic released from prison in Iran

An Iranian-British academic who was detained in Iran has returned to the UK.

The academic and anti-war activist Abbas Edalat, who is based in London, travelled to Iran from his home in England at an unknown date to attend an academic workshop, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

He had been held in custody since April, according to the group.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency had reported that Mr Edalat was being held on “security charges”.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is reunited with her daughter after being granted a temporary release from prison
Image: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying

The UK Foreign Office have confirmed Mr Edalat has returned to the UK.

The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) said: “It increasingly appears, as we had suspected, that his detention in spring in Iran was a case of misinformation and misunderstanding by the Iranian security apparatus.

“In the context of the multi-pronged attacks and open threats of the US, Israel and their allies to destabilise the Islamic Republic of Iran – including massive spending on economic warfare, espionage, and psychological operations against Iranians – the tensions are rising again and the potential for such misinterpretations is very real.”

When confirming Mr Edalat’s return, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We continue to take action on all our consular cases in Iran in line with what we believe will produce the best outcomes in their cases.”

Meanwhile, British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison in Iran since April 2016 and is accused of seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe this week made a renewed appeal for her release ahead of her 40th birthday on Boxing Day.

He told Sky News that he had managed to speak to his wife on Christmas morning and said she had been able to celebrate midnight mass in prison.

“Today she was better than before, she’s been really flat in the run up to this week. It’s loomed very large as… it’s her 40th birthday tomorrow.”

The charity worker was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she vehemently denies.

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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Christmas Day: “Happy Christmas to all. As we celebrate, let’s also remember those unjustly imprisoned like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is 40 tomorrow and separated from her brave husband Richard and devoted daughter Gabriella. Many more like her – we will not forget them today #FreeNazanin.”

Mr Ratcliffe said it was “great” Mr Hunt was involved in his wife’s case, saying “it’s important for us not to feel forgotten.”

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