Relatives of Iranian detainees fear the worst

Friends and relatives of two Iranian refugees who have been interned in a United Nations camp in Jordan since June say they fear for their safety.

Mehdi Khayyeri, 51, from North Finchley, and Mostafa Jalali-Farahani, 48, from Hendon, have both been told they may be deported from Jordan to Iran, where their families fear they face internment and possible torture.

They were arrested while they were part of a party of four refugees who had been doing humanitarian work in Iraq when it was discovered that their travel documents were not in order.

Two other Barnet-based Iranian refugees — Abrahim Khodabandeh and Jamil Bassam — were arrested on a trip to Syria in April and flown to Iran, where they remain incarcerated and awaiting trial for an unknown offence.

Speaking from Sweden where she is a medical student, Mr Khayyeri's daughter Hanifeh, 21, said that although the two were in a United Nations camp, she had heard that they might be in danger.

"They will not let him come back to the UK and I hope they do not send him to Iran," she said.

Rudi Vis, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said he was confident Mr Khayyeri and Mr Jalali-Farahani would soon be on their way home.

"It is going to be resolved," he said. But he was less hopeful for Mr Khodabandeh and Mr Bassam, Barnet residents for 30 years.

"The UK is trying to become bosom friends with Iran over the nuclear issue.

“Whatever we may think of the way these two men have been treated, do you think they form competition with the nuclear issue?" he said.

Iran last week agreed to tougher United Nations inspections of its nuclear facilities over fears it is trying to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

Elaheh Azimfar, Mr Khodabandeh's wife, said she was trying to arrange a legal visit to her husband and Mr Bassam but had so far had little success.

The Foreign Office has said it is powerless to intervene because the two men are not British citizens.

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