Iranian TV station forced to shut UK HQ after regime threats

UK-based independent network and Iranian TV station, Iran International TV, has been forced to shut down its London studios following a series of death threats received by its staff, and an alleged escalation in state-backed threats from Iran.

Why the Iranian TV station shut down its UK HQ

The decision to shut down the Iranian TV station was taken on Friday after an Austrian-Iranian man was arrested in the vicinity of the studio in Chiswick, West London last weekend. The man was charged on Monday “with collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, police said although the police said “serious concerns” remained about the safety of employees. The UK’s Metropolitan Police warned staff that it cannot safeguard them from Tehran-backed assassins or kidnappers on UK soil.

The channel was founded in 2017 and is owned by Volent Media. It reports on human rights abuses in Iran, including gender-based violence and honour killings. In November, concrete barriers were installed outside the studios to prevent any vehicle attack as well as firearms officers and armoured vehicles after warnings of a “credible threat to life”. Despite the man’s arrest, the police stated on Saturday that “we still have serious concerns for the safety of people working at this company”, and as a result, the police gave further advice, which led to the company relocating. About 100 staff work at the UK headquarters, many of whom are long-term British residents.

Iran International will continue its 24-hour broadcasts from its offices in Washington, and its relocation comes amidst the challenging reality faced by journalists around the world, including hostile intentions from foreign states while in the UK.

Image Credit: Iran International English/twitter

Tags : Iran