The wife of a man convicted in Iran of spying for Israel has spoken for the first time about her husband’s incarceration and asked for the help of the British government.
Anoosheh Ashoori, 65, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July after Iran found him guilty of spying for the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad.
His wife, Sherry Izadi, 56, said that the father of two was in the country to visit his 86-year-old mother and that the charges against him are ‘preposterous.’
She added that her husband is ‘the most un-political person imaginable’ and called on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to assist in his case.
Sherry Izadi, pictured right, can be seen with her husband Anoosheh Ashoori, pictured left. The 65-year-old retired civil engineer was sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison in July. His wife said that he has never had any political affiliation but the Islamic Republic have accused him of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency
Mr Ashoori can be seen pictured with his wife and daughter before a meal. Ms Izadi said that her husband was bundled into a car when he was in Tehran visiting his elderly mother
‘He has never been privy to any state secrets and we just lived extremely ordinary lives,’ Ms Izadi told the BBC.
‘My husband has never worked for any government sectors, he has never been involved in any political dealings, he never had any political affiliation.’
During the trip, Ms Izadi said that the retired civil engineer was thrown into the back seat of a car by Iranian authorities and taken to prison.
She added that he is getting old and that the prison conditions ‘are far from ideal.’
She fears how old he will be once released and the toll his imprisonment is taking on their family. He has been in solitary confinement – on and off – for the past four months, she said.
Mr Ashoori was also handed an additional two year sentence for illegally acquiring money and fined just under £30,000.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) meeting President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (right) at the UN General Assembly earlier this week in New York. Ms Izadi recommended that the government ‘go beyond talk and smiles’ to free her husband
Mr Johnson and President Rouhani again at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. Tensions between the two countries have been high over recent months with both countries having commandeered each other’s ships in the Strait of Hormuz
Ms Izadi is petitioning the British government to take action against the Islamic Republic. They have responded saying that they strongly advised Tehran to release Mr Ashoori, who is a dual Iranian-British citizen.
Tehran, however, does not recognise dual citizenship and has increased its arrests of dual passport holders over the past year, mainly on ‘trumped-up’ espionage charges.
‘The treatment of all dual nationals detained in Iran is a priority and we raised this issue in margins of the UN General Assembly yesterday,’ an FCO statement read.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday at the UN summit in New York yesterday and said that one of the top issues discussed was the detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen, who was arrested in the country in April 2016.
In September of the same year she was sentenced to five years imprisonment for supposedly ‘plotting to topple the Iranian government.’ Zaghari-Ratcliffe maintains that she was there on holiday.
Mr Johnson said that the prime issue of discussion when meeting Mr Rouhani was the release of dual British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, pictured above, who has been detained in the Islamic Republic since April 2016. Like Mr Ashoori, she was hit with espionage charges
An Iranian inmate peers from behind a wall as a guard walks by at the female section of the infamous Evin jail, north of Tehran
Mr Johnson called for her ‘immediate release’ and invited President Rouhani to London to discuss the matter further.
Ms Izadi believes that Iran is punishing her husband for holding two nationalities and that he is being ‘sacrificed’ in the diplomatic to and fro between Iran and the UK.
Tensions between President Rouhani and the prime minister appeared to have thawed at the UN yesterday as the two shared a laugh in front of cameras.
Ms Izadi said that action is needed and the government should go ‘beyond talk and smiles’ to free her husband.