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Environmental Activist Back in Iranian Jail 2 Days After Release 


Tahrane Tahbaz, sister of detained Iranian-American environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, who also holds British citizenship, holds a book that her brother made, after talking with Reuters at her home in Madrid, Spain, March 18, 2022.

A British-US-Iranian national who’d been released from an Iranian prison just two days ago was back in jail Friday, his family said.

Morad Tahbaz was released on furlough on the same day two other British dual nationals, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, were released and allowed to travel back to Britain.

Details of the release deal are unclear but when Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori were released, Iran state media reported that Britain had paid Iran a “long overdue debt of $530 million to Tehran.”

Tahbaz, an environmental activist, was detained along with seven others in January 2018 and accused of spying on Iranian strategic areas.

"We the family are distraught at this moment," his family said in a statement.

"We were confident and assured that the U.K. government had taken on responsibility to secure his release. ... After the euphoria of Nazanin and Anoosheh's homecoming, there's a worrying sense that the U.K. government hasn't pressed the Iranian authorities for Morad's freedom in the same way."

The U.S. State Department on Friday called for his immediate furlough and said a failure to do so was a violation of Iran's deal with Britain.

"We are not a party to this arrangement but would join the U.K. in considering anything short of Morad’s immediate furlough a violation of Iran’s commitment. We are urgently consulting with the U.K. on appropriate responses," a State Department spokesperson said.

Human rights groups have accused Tehran of taking dual-national hostages as bargaining chips, which Iran denies.

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