iranintl – Iran’s Intelligence Minister has reiterated threats against Iran International media network “wherever and whenever deemed necessary.”
During a television program on state television, Esmail Khatib said the Iranian government would take action against the network throughout the globe, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic would not refrain from invasive measures against the workers of the channel.
He stated, “Support from various countries will not deter us from taking invasive security measures,” claiming that several foreign-based channels have promoted “terrorism,” and Iran International is one of the most important ones.
“We believe that Iran International is a terrorist network, and naturally we deem it our duty and mission to act against them wherever and whenever we deem appropriate,” he said, warning that “no terrorist media will be safe.”
Following a significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran and advice from the London Metropolitan Police, Iran International TV announced in February that it reluctantly and temporarily closed its London studios and moved broadcasting to Washington DC.
Iran International was warned by authorities in November that its journalists were under threat from Iranian agents and the police took measures to strengthen security around the network’s offices.
The channel’s broadcasts have gained special significance since popular anti-regime protests broke out in Iran last September. Iranian officials have repeatedly threatened Iran International and other Persian broadcasters based abroad as the government blocked the Internet to deny the population news and information.
Mahmood Enayat, General Manager of Iran International TV, said in February, “A foreign state has caused such a significant threat to the British public on British soil that we have to move. Let’s be clear this is not just a threat to our TV station but the British Public at large. Even more this is an assault on the values of sovereignty, security and free speech that the UK has always held dear… We refuse to be silenced by these cowardly threats. We will continue to broadcast. We are undeterred.”
The Iranian regime has blamed foreign-based Persian broadcasters such as BBC Persian and Iran International for “fomenting unrest”, while all media in the country are under tight government control and present protesters as “rioters” and “terrorists”.
The US Department of State, Belgium-based International Federation of Journalists, and Australia’s Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance are among entities that expressed support for Iran International and stressed the importance of safeguarding journalists’ security and press freedom following the relocation of Iran International’s London office.
Following the relocation, IRGC Commander-In-Chief Major General Hossein Salami said the threats against the channel’s journalists “show how far the Islamic Revolution’s realm of power, field of infiltration and radius of influence has extended.”
Amid repeated threats by the Islamic Republic against Iran International’s reporters, the UK government vowed in December to step up protection of London-based Iranian journalists.
British officials also expressed strong support for Iran International. Tom Tugendhat, the UK’s Minister of State for Security, has repeatedly condemned Iran’s threats against the network. He affirmed that the UK would continue its support for the network, ensuring its activities in a secure environment.
Vowing to step up protection of London-based Iranian journalists, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said during a session in Parliament in December that the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), in partnership with the Home Office, had ensured that the Iranian journalists were protected by the British police.
“The UK remains absolutely determined to ensure that Iran does not intimidate people within this country. We will always stand up to the aggression from foreign nations,” he noted, adding, “We will absolutely not tolerate threats, particularly towards journalists who are highlighting what is going on in Iran, or indeed any other individual living in the UK.”
A man was arrested in the vicinity of Iran International’s headquarters in February and charged with a terrorism offence.
In May, Britain’s shadow security minister slammed the threats against journalists covering Iran’s protests. Speaking on World Press Freedom Day, Holly Lynch, the Labour MP for Halifax, said the threats by the Iranian regime include “assassination and kidnap plots against UK residents who are perceived as enemies of Iran owing to their coverage of the protests and the regime’s brutal crackdown”.
The head of Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP), Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes in London said in February that “At its sharpest, this has involved police and MI5 working together to foil 15 plots since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime,” he said.
Despite ongoing threats, Iran International will soon inaugurate a new building in London.