Iranian journalist stabbed in London says he feared he would die in attack

Pouria Zeraati realised he had been stabbed when he saw his trainers were covered in blood

The men suspected of attacking Pouria Zeraati in London left the UK shortly after he was stabbed. Photo: Iran International
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Pouria Zeraati, the Iranian journalist stabbed in a London street, has spoken about how he feared he would die in the attack outside his home.

The host of Iran International's Final Word was attacked by two men as he left his home in Wimbledon last week.

Zeraati, 36, was stabbed in the back of his right thigh and was taken to hospital. He has since returned to work.

He said he was crossing the road from his apartment block to get to his car when a man wearing a black hooded tracksuit approached him.

“He said, ‘Brother, I need £3 in cash',” Zeraati told The Sunday Times.

He told the man he did not have any change. At that point, a second man ran across the road and grabbed Zeraati in a bear hug.

He said he could not see the man’s face or move his hands, but saw the first man take a knife from his pocket.

“It was like something gangsters would use; it wasn’t a kitchen knife. The whole thing lasted about 10 seconds.

“In those few seconds, the only thing I was thinking was: where is he going to stab me – in my throat, in my eyes, in my heart?

“They had the chance to kill me.”

Zeraati did not feel any pain and was surprised when they ran away.

“It was only when I looked down that I noticed what had happened,” he told the newspaper.

“I was wearing a light-blue suit with white sneakers, but the whole of my right side was covered in blood. My white sneakers had completely turned red.”

He quickly concluded that he had been attacked because of his job, after realising nothing had been stolen from him.

“I checked my wallet, mobile phone, my AirPods, my watch … The moment I noticed they didn’t take anything, it clicked that something has happened regarding my job.”

Zeraati said he lost a lot of blood while he was waiting for emergency services. An ambulance took him to hospital, where he received stitches for the wound and was sent home within 48 hours.

He said while he was in hospital, Iranian state media reported that he had died in the attack, so he posted an image on Instagram and X in his medical gown with a victory sign.

Detectives believe the two men fled in a vehicle driven by a third man.

The vehicle, a blue Mazda 3, was abandoned in the New Malden area of south London shortly after the attack. It is being examined by police.

They believe the three men then travelled to Heathrow airport and fled the country.

Iran International and its journalists have been targets of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The channel in London aims to provide independent coverage of Iran, which has declared the outlet to be a terrorist organisation.

In January, the British Foreign Office imposed sanctions on members of the IRGC’s Unit 840, after an ITV investigation into a plot to assassinate two of Iran International’s presenters in the UK.

Officials said the plot was the latest credible example of Iran’s attempts to kill or intimidate Britons or people with links to the UK, with at least 15 such threats reported since January 2022.

In December, an IT worker was jailed for three and a half years for spying on Iran International before a “planned attack” on British soil.

Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev carried out a hostile reconnaissance operation at the London headquarters of Iran International in February 2023.

After a trial at the Old Bailey, the Chechnya-born Austrian citizen was found guilty of trying to collect information for terrorist purposes.

Updated: April 07, 2024, 2:45 AM