On the fifth anniversary of her father’s arrest, the daughter of a man wrongfully detained in Iran is calling on the governments of the United States and United Kingdom to do whatever they can to bring him home.
Tara Tahbaz described her father, Morad Tahbaz, as “one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met – one of the kindest, most generous people.”
“We really, really miss him. We’re trying to do everything possible to get him home to us,” she said Tuesday, telling CNN that the anniversary of his arrest is “definitely a very difficult day.”
Morad Tahbaz, who is a US, UK and Iranian citizen, was arrested in January 2018 on charges of espionage while on a trip to Iran. Prior to his arrest, both he and his wife had been blocked by an exit ban from leaving the country. In November 2019, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Tara Tahbaz told CNN that her family is “continuing to beg President (Joe) Biden and Prime Minister (Rishi) Sunak to continue to work together to urgently bring him home and use all the tools that are available to them.”
“We’ve seen Biden make the courageous decisions in this past year to bring home other American hostages, so we’re really hoping our family will be next,” she said.
She – along with other families of Americans detained abroad known as the “Bring Our Families Home Campaign” – hopes to meet directly with Biden.
“I just want him to hear about the pain and the struggles that we go through on a daily basis, and just really urge him to act with urgency,” she said. “I think he more than anyone, given everything he’s gone through, would have the empathy to understand the pain that we go through.”
“Every single day that they’re there, it’s so difficult and it’s a day that we risk losing them for good and that we really hope that he will act as quickly as possible to bring them home,” she said.
Tara Tahbaz expressed concern for her 67-year-old father’s wellbeing, noting “he has had cancer and he has gone through several medical conditions while he’s incarcerated,” including having Covid-19 three times. And her fears have been compounded by the ongoing protests in Iran, which she said has added urgency to his need to be released.
Although Tara Tahbaz is able to speak with her parents by phone, she has not seen them in person since November 2017.
“I can’t believe that it’s now been almost half a decade that we haven’t seen our parents,” she said.
The US State Department has classified Morad Tahbaz as wrongfully detained. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called for his release, along with fellow wrongfully detained Americans Emad Shargi and Siamak Namazi.
“Reuniting these Americans with their families is a top priority of this Administration,” Sullivan said in a tweet.