The friends of an Iranian asylum seeker who was forced to leave Ipswich last month are celebrating as he has now been granted asylum in the UK for five years.

The Ipswich Star met Ahmad in January. He had fled his home country of Iran in 2022, as he had been successfully prosecuted for “advertising activities against the regime and promoting Christianity” in the form of shared literature and sentenced to 20 years penal servitude.

Ahmad arrived in the UK in August of 2022, and was housed first in Novotel and then another hotel nearby. He began to put down roots in Ipswich, becoming a regular attendee of mass and church services.

Ipswich Star: Ahmad has been back in touch, and has said that life is looking up since his departure in January.Ahmad has been back in touch, and has said that life is looking up since his departure in January. (Image: Newsquest)

Ahmad and his fellow churchgoers were disappointed when the news came in January that he was to be moved to new accommodation away from Suffolk.

He was given just five days’ notice and was not told where he was going until the morning of his departure, when he set off for Coventry.

Now, he and his friends have cause to celebrate. On Saturday, Ahmad learned that his asylum application has been granted.

He will now be allowed to stay in the UK for five years, at which point he will be able to apply for permanent residency.

His former parish priest, Canon John Thackray, has already been over to Coventry to visit him, and has introduced him to his new vicar, who has turned out to be great support.

Ahmad is now staying in a house share in Coventry, and is now permitted to work under the terms of his visa. He has been accepted onto a National Infrastructure Solutions course, with the aim of finding work in perhaps security, the railways or as an electrician.

Until he finishes the course, Ahmad does not know if he will return to Ipswich or continue living in the Midlands. However, the future looks bright.

“I am happy,” said Ahmad.