The daughter of a British-Iranian detained in Iran says her father will begin a hunger strike on Sunday due to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development’s (FCDO) lack of “any progress” in securing his release.
Retired civil engineer Anoosheh Ashoori has been held at Tehran’s Evin prison on charges of spying for Israel, which he denies, for more than four years.
Elika Ashoori said her father would undertake a hunger strike from Sunday in “full solidarity” with others including former US diplomat Barry Rosen to demand Iran release all foreign and dual-national “hostages”.
“My father, who has been held hostage by Iran for the past four-and-a-half years, has decided to join their hunger strike from Evin prison,” Ms Ashoori said in the video posted on Twitter.
“Needless to say, we are extremely concerned for his physical health as he approaches his 68th birthday.
“But having failed to see any progress in the FCDO’s efforts to bring about his release and no sign that the welfare of hostages currently held by Iran is a priority of the respective US, Europe and UK governments, he will begin his hunger strike in the hope of bringing global attention to the plight of these individuals held by Iran.
“Please help us by sharing this message using the hashtag #FreeTheHostages.”
The BBC quoted the FCDO as saying Mr Ashoori’s continued detention was “wholly unjustified”.
Mr Rosen, who was one of 52 Americans held hostage in the US embassy in Iran following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, began his hunger strike in Vienna on Wednesday as he called for Tehran to release all foreign nationals before it is allowed to reach a nuclear agreement with the West.
It comes after the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spent almost three weeks in November on a hunger strike outside the FCDO in central London, with Richard Ratcliffe saying his family was “caught in a dispute between two states”.
According to her family, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told by Iranian authorities that she was being detained because of the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400 million debt to Iran.
Mr Ratcliffe said the Government “clammed up” and would not talk about the debt during his discussion with them.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.