Mehran Raoof

Mehran Raoof

British-Iranian Labor Activist


Mehran Raoof is a labor rights activist and national of Iran and the U.K. who has divided his time between them.


On October 16, 2020, IRGC intelligence functionaries raided and searched Raoof’s home and arrested him, confiscating his computer and several other belongings. The Iranian regime arrested other labor rights activists throughout the country that month.

A colleague of Raoof who lives in London told the Daily Telegraph that Raoof helped translate news articles from English to Farsi. He added that the Iranian government had detained Raoof and 15 other workers because a young girl had surreptitiously recorded their conversations about labor rights at a coffee shop.

Treatment in Captivity and Letter from Prison

The authorities threw Raoof into Iran’s notoriously brutal Evin Prison. He has been in solitary confinement for months, and the authorities have refused to let him contact his immediate family—none of whom live in Iran—or meet with the judiciary-certified Iranian attorneys whom his family hired to represent him. His friends have attempted to hire another attorney of Raoof’s choice, but the government has refused to make Raoof’s case file available to that lawyer before Raoof’s trial.

In a letter from prison released in the spring of 2023, Raoof said the Iranian law-enforcement system is “subject to the interpretations and whims of those in power,” and that the regime utilizes dual national hostages as “a valuable commodity” to extract concessions, such as “large sums of money,” from foreign governments. He added that the regime imprisons people for thought crimes or peaceful behavior and holds them in “special detention center[s]” run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or the intelligence ministry. He said the detainees are held in “a solitary cell designed for ill-treatment” and questioned while they are blindfolded, “facing a wall,” or in rooms with “smoked glass where the accused cannot see the interrogators.”

Raoof concluded his letter, “This clear discrimination and oppression are not unfamiliar to us, who have lived under the rule of the Islamic Republic for over 40 years. Many of us, including political prisoners, women’s rights activists, environmental activists, and workers’ rights activists are imprisoned on charges of having different beliefs and opinions and protesting against wrong and dictatorial policies and laws. We stand in solidarity with the nationwide protests, demanding the unconditional release of all political prisoners.”

Charges and Trial

The regime has never publicly stated the precise charges against Raoof and the status of his case. His trial date was set for April 28, but little or no news from his trial was reported publicly.


Raoof was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by Judge Iman Afshari in Branch 26 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court, according to an August 4, 2021, tweet by his lawyer. The attorney, Mostafa Nili, said that Raoof was sentenced to ten years for the crime of “participating in the management of an illegal group” and eight months “for propaganda activities against the regime.”

A Britain-based supporter of Raoof, Satar Rahmani, said that Judge Afshari told Raoof in Evin Prison that he “deserved” the sentence. Raoof had told the judge that he was afraid that he would die in prison. Judge Afshari is known for handing out prison sentences to defendants prosecuted for political reasons on trumped-up charges.

International Reaction

The British government “strongly” condemned Raoof’s sentence, stating, “We continue to do all we can to support Mehran and his family, and continue to raise his case at the most senior levels.”

Amnesty International first brought Raoof’s case to light and has called for his immediate release.

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