Iran accused of plotting to kill two journalists in Britain



CNN

Two British-Iranian journalists working in the United Kingdom have been warned by police of a “credible” plan by Iran to kill them, according to their employer, London-based news channel Iran International.

In a statement on Monday, the Farsi-language broadcaster said it was “shocked and deeply concerned” by the alleged deadly threats, while accusing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of being part of a “significant and dangerous escalation”. of Tehran’s “campaign to intimidate Iranian journalists working abroad.”

“Two of our British-Iranian journalists have been notified in recent days of an increase in threats against them,” Iran International said in the statement. – The Metropolitan Police have now formally notified both journalists that these threats pose an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and the lives of their families.

Iran International did not name the journalists for security reasons.

The IRGC is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 by order of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It is designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Iran International has become one of the go-to sources for many Iranians looking for news about the protests following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman detained by the morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.

“These deadly threats against British citizens on British soil come after weeks of warnings from the IRGC and the Iranian government about the work of a free and uncensored Farsi-language media operating in London,” the news channel added in its statement.

Iran International said other members of its staff have also been warned by police about separate threats, according to the statement.

“We hope that the UK government, international governments and other organizations will join us in condemning these appalling threats and continue to highlight the importance of media freedom,” the statement added.

London’s Metropolitan Police told CNN they would not comment on safeguarding issues relating to specific individuals.

“We would advise anyone concerned about their safety to contact the police so that officers can assess the situation and offer safety and security advice when and where necessary,” police said.

The IRGC could not immediately be reached when CNN reached out for comment.

The Iranian government has labeled Iran International a “terrorist organization,” Iran’s state news agency ISNA reported Tuesday, citing the country’s information ministry.

“The international network has been recognized as a terrorist organization by Iran’s security apparatus, and its operators will be searched by the Ministry of Information, and from now on, any connection with this terrorist organization will be considered as entering the terrorist domain and threatening national security,” said the ministry according to ISNA.

CNN contacted Iran International for comment.

Founded in 2017, Iran International has been at the forefront of covering the recent demonstrations with exclusive footage of events on the ground. Its Twitter account has more than a million followers.

The 24-hour news channel has previously been investigated by the Iranian government for its coverage.

In 2018, Iran International released a statement denying links to any government, including Riyadh or Tehran, after the British newspaper The Guardian reported that it was funded by a company whose director has links to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In October, Iran said it was sanctioning a number of media outlets in Britain for “supporting terrorism” and “encouraging violence”, the state-run Tasnim news agency reported.

The sanctioned entities included what Tehran referred to as “anti-Iranian television channels” such as Iran International, Tasnim reported.

Journalists in Iran have also come under pressure from the Iranian authorities, including facing prison and arrests.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said that as of Monday, at least 61 journalists have been arrested in Iran for reasons including covering the protests, reporting on the deaths of protesters and taking pictures of demonstrations, according to a report by the organization.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish human rights group Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that the IRGC “has increased its threats against Hengaw members in recent days,” following the death of a Kurdish Iranian woman that sparked a wave of protests in the country on Sunday.

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