News TV channel Iran International to relocate from UK to US amid regime threats

News TV channel Iran International to relocate from UK to US amid regime threats
Iran International is heading for Washington DC. / PersianDutchNetwork, cc-by-sa 4.0
By bne IntelIiNews February 18, 2023

Free-to-air Persian language news television channel Iran International is on the advice of British police suspending its operations in the UK because of a "significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran" against its London-based journalists.

"Threats had grown to the point that it was felt it was no longer possible to protect the channel's staff," it said.

The satellite TV station—which Iran claims is partly funded by figures in the Saudi establishment—will continue to operate from its offices in Washington DC.

In November, police warned two British-Iranian journalists from Iran International of a possible risk to their lives. An armed police presence was stationed near the channel's studios in Chiswick, west London, while concrete barriers were erected outside the building.

"I cannot believe it has come to this," the BBC quoted the network's general manager, Mahmood Enayat, as saying on February 18. "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."

Iran International has been a substantial provider of news on the anti-regime protests seen in Iran since the death in Tehran morality police custody last September of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was detained for allegedly not wearing her hijab, or headscarf, in line with the country’s Islamic dress code.

In October, Tehran announced sanctions against Iran International and BBC News Persian. Iranian officials accused the media outlets of "incitement of riots" and "support of terrorism" over their coverage of the anti-government protests.

In November, Iran's Intelligence Minister, Esmail Khatib, said Tehran was identifying Iran International as a "terrorist" organisation. Its "agents" would be pursued, he said.

London's Metropolitan Police said on February 18 that 15 plots have been foiled by counter-terrorism officers since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals the Iranian regime see as enemies.