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Iranian migrant tells of her wait for asylum claim to be processed after security forces tried to recruit her

We’ve seen and heard so much about the migrants crossing the English Channel, yet very little about what happens to them next.

It’s taken us many months to persuade any migrants to talk about their experiences of crossing the Channel and their wait for asylum.

Mitra was brave enough to tell us her harrowing story.

Mitra says she married a man in Iran but later she found out he worked for Iran’s intelligence service. He had told her that he was a developer.

She thinks that she was targeted and the marriage was planned by her husband and his sister.

It was a shock which underlined how little the couple really knew about each other.

But it was when her husband’s colleagues tried to recruit her as a spy, that her life started to fall apart.

Mitra says she refused their offer, but in Iran that can be a very dangerous thing to do.

She claims an intelligence officer raped her during questioning.

Traumatised, she decided to leave Iran and ended up in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.

But the security forces found her and brought her back, where Mitra says she was forced to sign a confession and they attempted to blackmail her into working for them.

Finally, Mitra says her mother took a loan out (100 million Toman) to pay a smuggler to get her a visa for Europe.

She claims she took a flight first to Turkey and then on to the Balkans.

Incredibly the intelligence services found her again, Mitra says, accosting her at breakfast in her hotel.

She claims that quick thinking meant she made an excuse to get her bags and quickly ran outside, hailing a taxi.

The driver took €500 to book a flight ticket to France for her and took almost €300 for giving her a ride.

In France she says she was told her best hope was to go to Dunkirk where hundreds of other Iranians were camped in the so-called Jungle.

She spent 11 months in France, two of them living rough, trying to claim asylum.

Her application was turned down and so she decided she had no choice but to try and get to Britain.

Mitra becomes upset when she reflects on everything she has left behind. Credit: ITV News

Mitra says her uncle in Iran arranged and paid £3500 to an agent to get her across the Channel, a debt her parents had to repay.

She says the dinghy she was in left France on August 26, and conditions were rough.

She claims seven men and two women were crammed into the small vessel.

Mitra says she thought the smuggler was going to pilot the boat all the way to Britain, but after a mile or so he transferred onto another dinghy and they were abandoned.

None of those on board had ever helmed a boat before, and the waves were getting steadily higher.

Mitra became convinced she would die.

The tears roll down her face as she describes the hallucinations she saw in the sea: countless souls pleading with her to jump in.

The White Cliffs of Dover are the first sight of the UK many migrants crossing the Channel get. Credit: ITV News

Mitra says one of the agents who assisted her to come to the UK, raped her.

After the rape in Tehran, she had already tried to commit suicide once before, now in the face of what she thought was a hopeless situation, the demons in her head were encouraging her to end her life again.

As the boat pitched and rolled in ever more alarming ways, with the men on board arguing about whether to turn back, the light of an approaching ship could be seen.

It was the the British Border Force cutter.

Mitra says she shouted her prayer of thanks to God as it was clear they would be saved.

Everyone in the boat stood up and waved furiously, she said, almost capsizing the boat.

Mitra is waiting for her asylum claim to be processed. Credit: ITV News

Those in the dinghy were transferred aboard the cutter safely and taken to Dover, where they stayed for two days as they were assessed and given time to recover from the cold and shock.

Then they were all sent to different areas of the country, Mitra says.

Mitra ended up in a hostel on the edge of London, where she lives to this day.

Her room is tiny and freezing.

This week someone threw two bricks through the windows of the hostel and they haven’t been repaired.

A window in the hostel Mitra is staying at was smashed. Credit: ITV News

Mitra says she has only £5 per day to survive on while her asylum claim is processed.

Thanks to charity hand outs she has some clothes and a few personal effects, but little else.

What pains her the most is the separation from her parents and family in Tehran.

She says she didn’t want to come to the UK, but had no choice.

Now her fate lies in the hands of the Home Office who will eventually rule on whether she can stay.

Her only solace is painting - photos of her paintings in Iran show talent and promise.

It is the pastime of a past life to which she cannot return.