Anoosheh Ashoori, British-Iranian man detained in Iran, says UK is not doing enough to save him

A British man languishing in an Iranian jail says the UK government is not doing enough to save him in a recording smuggled out of prison.

In the phone recording, given to Sky News exclusively, south London retiree Anoosheh Ashoori says he is acting out of desperation.

"It is now more than three and a half years that all we have received from the British government has just been words and no tangible results," he said.

His family released the recording shortly before his 67th birthday frustrated with the lack of progress in securing his release.

His wife Sherry Izadi says she has never heard her husband sound so desperate.

"I could hear the tears in his voice I could sense the desperation in him and that’s particularly upsetting – it’s very sad, it’s very bad," she said.

Mr Ashoori is a doting father and husband who loved filming his family as they grew up.

He was abducted by Iranian authorities on holiday visiting his mother in Tehran and is being held in the notorious Evin prison – the same one Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was put in.

He has attempted suicide three times in jail.

Held for three and a half years now in a crowded prison cell, he sounds tormented by the longing to see his family again in the recording released by his family.

He said: "Will I ever have a chance to embrace my kids again or taste the warmth of my wife’s presence only for one more time, before we are too old to recognise each other when I come out in my mid-70s? And that is if I come out alive and sane."

Mr Ashoori’s voice breaks with emotion when he talks about the family pet.

"Will my lovely dog Romeo still be alive? Will he recognise me and will he jump on my lap, and ensconce himself waiting to be pampered by my gentle strokes?"

Mr Ashoori’s family are sharing the recording and speaking out because they say they regret taking foreign office advice to keep quiet.

His wife says they feel let down by the UK government.

"Honestly, in my opinion, all dual national cases have been handled extremely poorly. We’ve just been placated. We’ve been appeased. We’ve been offered a lot of words. We’ve been told that they’ve been strongly urging the Iranian government. And we’ve just been told that there’s a lot of behind the scenes diplomacy. But what that has translated into for us is nothing," she said.

In a statement the Foreign Office told Sky News: "We strongly urge Iran to reunite British-Iranian dual national Mr Ashoori with his family. Our embassy in Tehran continues to request consular access. We are in close contact with his family and continue to support them."

Mr Ashoori is one of several British Iranians who have been taken in Iran. Observers say the Iranian government’s taken them as hostages as leverage in negotiations with Britain.

The Ashoori family have watched other governments get their nationals out but not the UK.

His daughter Elika says the government must do more now to help them before it’s too late.

"Someone innocent is in a great deal of distress and his voice is not being heard and if something isn’t done soon it could be at the risk of his sanity or even his life."

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