In an interview with the Standard, Roxanne Tahbaz strongly criticised Mr Johnson’s Government, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, for failing to secure the release of her father Morad, who has been detained in Iran for four years.
Morad, 66, was briefly released from Evin Prison in Tehran two weeks ago, at the same time as Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and a third dual British-Iranian national Anoosheh Ashoori were allowed to return to the UK. But he was taken back to jail after 48 hours and has now been on hunger strike for nine days.
Now his daughter, a 35-year-old London based business development consultant, has pleaded with her father to start eating again, fearing his health will be quickly deteriorating. She also pleaded with the Government to let her know how they are planning to secure his release.
“It’s so shocking and devastating that nothing has been said apart from we are working on it,” she told The Standard. She said the Prime Minister had made no attempt to contact the family.
“What are you working on? Because they are still there,” she said. “How are you going to fix this?
“You almost feel you have been lied to…that trust feels quite broken.”
Asked what her message was for the Prime Minister, she said: “Get him home. They promised. We would love to be reunited. He was born here. He is British. There was no excuse to leave him behind.
“It was their job to protect him.”
She went on to describe the sense of anger she felt when she discovered, through the media, that her father would not be coming home on the same flight which brought the other two detainees back to RAF Brize Norton.
“They promised us results, they promised us our family back and there’s no word for how let down you could possibly feel,” she said.
“That moment when we found out [that he wasn’t coming home]and we found out through the press, when I saw that article I just I remember feeling sick. I couldn’t do anything, the phone kept ringing, I couldn’t even bring myself to answer for anyone.
“I just was beside myself because how do you go from feeling okay, I might see him finally, okay, well, at least I get to talk to him and I’ll be able to ring whenever I want, to nothing. You almost wished you hadn’t believed he would be coming home. You almost wish you hadn’t got your hopes up only for them to be dashed and your heart broken into a 1000 pieces.”
She said her her two younger siblings are struggling as thier Vida, 61, also remains in Iran on a travel ban and unable to leave the country.
“Now the only thing keeping me going is that I hope that everything that we’ve decided to do since that day will actually yield some positive impact or results,” she said referring to her family’s decision to ignore Government advice to stay quiet. “I want the government to see this coverage and know they have to fix this because he never should have have been left behind.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are urgently raising Morad’s case with the Iranian authorities. He must be allowed to return to his family’s home in Tehran immediately, as the Iranian government committed to doing.”
Mr Tahbaz was working as a conservationist with the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation in January 2018 when he was accused of spying by the Iranian authorities. He was jailed in 2019 and has been held in Tehran ever since.
Ms Tahbaz moved to London from New York 10 years ago after her father, who has US and Iranian citizenship but a British passport having been born in Hammersmith, recommended she should.
“He always saw London as home. He loved it here and would come to visit me all the time,” she said.
Asked where he might like to go on his return to the capital, she replied: “I think he would want to be anywhere where his family is but I know he has very fond memories of Richmond Park from when he was a boy…he loves nature and he loves the outdoors, so even if it was a picnic there.”