1. ITV Report

British professor Abbas Edalat returns to UK after being detained in Iran for eight months

Professor Abbas Edalat has returned to the UK from Iran Credit: Imperial College London

A British-Iranian academic and anti-war activist who was detained in Iran has returned to the UK.

Abbas Edalat, a professor in computer science and maths at Imperial College London, had been held in custody since April, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency had reported that Prof Edalat was being held on “security charges”.

The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), which Prof Edalat founded, said he returned to the UK last week.

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The group said it appeared he had been detained due to “misinformation and misunderstanding by the Iranian security apparatus”.

In a statement it said: “It increasingly appears, as we had suspected, that his detention in spring in Iran was a case of misinformation and misunderstanding by the Iranian security apparatus.

“In the context of the multi-pronged attacks and open threats of the US, Israel and their allies to destabilise the Islamic Republic of Iran – including massive spending on economic warfare, espionage, and psychological operations against Iranians – the tensions are rising again and the potential for such misinterpretations is very real.

“CASMII continues to demand that the US call off its threats, destabilisation campaigns and sanctions on Iran and rejoin the internationally recognised UN-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA).”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm that a British-Iranian dual national who was detained in Tehran has returned to the UK.

“We continue to take action on all our consular cases in Iran in line with what we believe will produce the best outcomes in their cases.”

Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison in Iran since April 2016 accused of seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime.

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Her husband Richard Ratcliffe this week made a renewed appeal for her release ahead of her 40th birthday on Boxing Day.

The British-Iranian mother, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport.

The charity worker, of Hampstead in north London, was later sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she vehemently denies.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have called her incarceration a “travesty of justice”.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Christmas Day: “Happy Christmas to all. As we celebrate, let’s also remember those unjustly imprisoned like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is 40 tomorrow and separated from her brave husband Richard and devoted daughter Gabriella. Many more like her – we will not forget them today #FreeNazanin.”