The Foreign Office has summoned Iran’s deputy ambassador over allegations that two London-based journalists received death threats from Tehran-backed agents over their coverage of protests in the country.
News channel Iran International has taken precautions to protect its journalists after receiving reports from the Metropolitan Police earlier this week that there was a credible threat to the lives of journalists. The two reporters have not been named, nor have the exact threat details been released.
The subpoena comes as the EU prepares to impose sanctions on Monday on another 30 Iranian officials believed to be at the center of Iran’s human rights abuses. A plan to designate the (IRGC) as a terrorist group has been investigated by Germany, but is unlikely to be taken up.
Explaining the diplomatic summons, Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said: “The UK will always confront foreign threats. We do not tolerate life threats or intimidation of any kind against journalists or individuals living in the UK. ”
Iran International, BBC Persian and the third channel Manoth have been at the forefront of reporting on the Iranian protests, often relying on video footage transmitted from mobile phone cameras. The protests were sparked by the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mertha Her Amini, but erupted into wider riots over her repression in Iran.
External satellite channels are disproportionately viewed within Iran, partly because of the censorship imposed on Iranian media, and the Iranian government has resorted to internet shutdowns to prevent access to the channels.
In a statement earlier this week, a spokesperson for Iran International said: It is truly shocking that British independent journalists are having their lives threatened in an attempt to prevent free, uncensored information from reaching the Iranian people.
“The UK is a land of free speech. As part of that tradition, we are proud to provide the 85 million people in Iran with information not available at home. It is unforgivable to silence the news.”
The Metropolitan Police formally notified both journalists that these threats pose an imminent, credible and grave danger to their lives and their families. Other journalists at the station have also been notified of threats by police.
More than 60 journalists have been arrested inside Iran, according to Amnesty International, with some allegedly sending videos to a UK-based Persian-language news channel and allegedly acting as agents for foreign powers. ing.
Officials have accused the UK-based channel of pumping out propaganda designed to discredit the regime, claiming it exaggerated the scale of the protests and the crackdown that followed.
Iranians protested Friday in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan to mark the Sept. 30 crackdown by security forces, known as Bloody Friday, as nationwide demonstrations calling for an end to clerical rule continue. did.
Amnesty International said security forces unlawfully killed at least 66 people, including children, after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and tear gas at demonstrators in the provincial capital Zahedan.
The protests have made the nuclear deal much less likely to be reinstated. Iran agreed to a visit this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, an agency report said.
Diplomats said they hoped the West would push a resolution calling for Iran’s cooperation at next week’s quarterly meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors.
Debate is also underway among Western powers as to whether the time has come to declare that negotiations to revive the nuclear deal are over, and if so, how to control Iran’s potential nuclear program. A question arises as to whether