British-Iranian jailed for meeting country’s former queen

Nasrin Rooshan (left) and Sara Tabrizi
Nasrin Rooshan (left) and Sara Tabrizi were deetained at Tehran's Imam airport as they were about to leave Iran last November

A British-Iranian woman has been held in solitary confinement in Iran for more than 200 days on charges of meeting with the former queen of the country, according to her family.

Nasrin Rooshan was detained in Iran in relation to her meeting with Farah Pahlavi, wife of the exiled former Shah, and also for taking part in rallies in London to protest about Mahsa Amini who died in the custody of morality police.

Mrs Rooshan lives in the UK and became a British citizen 25 years ago after moving from Iran, her husband Arash Asiabi said. She returned to her home country to visit a relative who was unwell and was detained at the airport as she tried to leave.

She has since been held in solitary jail in the notorious Evin prison which is run by the Revolutionary Guards, her husband said.

Mrs Rooshan was detained with her first cousin once removed, Sara Tabrizi, 21, at Tehran’s Imam airport as they were about to leave Iran last November. Ms Tabrizi had been released on bail but died in unknown circumstances a few days after, according to Mr Asiabi.

Facing three years in prison

Mr Asiabi said his wife had been detained for links to the former Shah, who was exiled after the Iranian revolution.

“Nasrin always wanted to pay her respect to the former royal family of Iran and went to Egypt in 2023 to attend the anniversary of the death of the late Shah, where she met with queen Farah Pahlavi. On her return to Iran to care for her ill aunt she was arrested,” he said.

Mrs Rooshan’s family members in the UK and Iran had been told by the Iranian authorities that she would be freed after eight months. But now they say they have been told that she must serve three full years of imprisonment.

Since 1982 the Islamic regime in Iran has detained 14 British-Iranian dual nationals on charges ranging from “espionage” to “plot to overthrow the Islamic Republic”.

Most have since been released after spending from 18 days to nearly 10 years behind bars. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was the most high-profile, and was released in March 2022 after a sustained campaign.

Mehran Raouf, a British-Iranian engineer and labour activist, is in Evin prison. He was arrested in October 2020.