Anoosheh Ashoori 'suffers panic attacks and guilt' over release from Iran's Evin prison

His daughter Elika Ashoori spoke out about the treatment of prisoners

Anoosheh Ashoori. Victoria Pertusa / The National
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British-Iranian citizen Anoosheh Ashoori, who was jailed for almost five years in Iran, still suffers panic attacks and guilt over his release from prison, his daughter says.

The news comes as Iran this week recalled British-born environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 66, to jail after he had been released wearing an electronic tag.

Mr Ashoori, who had been jailed on spying charges, was released in March with fellow dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

His daughter, Elika Ashoori, spoke about his experience in prison.

"My father visited Iran because my grandmother needed surgery and couldn't get anyone to help her," she told Sky News.

"A few days later someone put him in a van and they detained him. He is trying to go about being as normal as possible.

"He started to get panic attacks and feelings of guilt because he has left people behind. The things that he says about his time in jail are harrowing. The mental psychological trauma you go through is harrowing."

Mr Ashoori was arrested in August 2017 while visiting his elderly mother in Tehran and was later convicted of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, despite having lived in the UK for 20 years.

His and Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release came after the UK government agreed to pay back a £400 million debt to Iran dating from the 1970s, although both governments said the two issues should not be linked.

Fellow prisoner Mr Tahbaz was due to be released in March but instead was forced to stay in Iran and wear an electronic tag.

After his recall to prison, UK Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad called for Mr Tahbaz's release.

“The Tahbaz family have confirmed that Morad has been returned to Evin prison by the Iranian authorities," he said.

"By continuing his horrendous ordeal with these cruel tactics, Iran sends a clear message to the international community that Iran does not deliver on its commitments.

“We call on Iran to release Morad so he may rejoin family in Tehran immediately.

"We will continue to work closely with our US partners to hold Iran to account, and to secure Morad’s permanent release and departure from Iran.”

Updated: June 20, 2023, 11:11 AM