After a UK-based Iranian broadcaster was threatened with assassination, Iran’s top diplomat has been summoned again by the Foreign Office.
James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, stated that he summoned Mehdi Hosseini Mattin, Iranian charge d’affaires in the UK “to emphasize our stance against threats to journalists in Britain”.
He stated that the UK had also sanctioned Iranian members “involved with repressing the Iranian people, even children”.
He tweeted, “Iran’s threats won’t go unchallenged”
The spokeswoman for Prime Minister Rishi Sonak stated that Iran’s charge of affaires was summoned on Monday afternoon to the Foreign Office and that a meeting took places with the director general for Middle East.
The spokeswoman stated that the UK would not tolerate any threats to media freedom or life in the UK.
Since October last year, Iran’s charge of affaires has been summoned each month over various human rights issues. This includes alleged threats made by Iranian security forces against journalists in the UK.
Iran International TV announced that it was forcibly relocated its headquarters from Chiswick in west London to its studios at Washington DC. This happened after police threatened to “imminently and credible threats to their lives”.
Tom Tugendhat, Security Minister, condemned “this outrageous violation our sovereignty” and confirmed that eight Iranian officials were sanctioned Monday on top of the existing 300 sanctions.
He said that the counter-terrorism police were trying to find a safe location for Iran International TV to travel to within the UK. He also stated that they will return as there is no greater freedom than the freedom to press.
Police said that a man was taken into custody outside Chiswick TV Studio on Monday and charged with terrorist offences in relation to surveillance at the headquarters of the company.
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Although the channel claimed that it had “reluctantly closed” its London studios, its staff “refused to be silenced with these cowardly threats.”
Sky News’ editor Niusha Boghrati said that the threats had become a reality due to terrorism.
“That’s what the Met Police told us. They threatened to kill us if we didn’t move the operation. It was difficult to believe.”
He said that although police had been “heavily protecting” the offices of the channel with armed police, it was now “getting outof hand”.
Boghrati stated that threats against journalists covering Iran are not new but that the threat of assassination or kidnapping was something that we have not yet experienced.
Scotland Yard revealed that MI5 and police foiled 15 plots to kidnap or assassinate UK-based people believed to be enemies of the Iranian regime.