British-Iranian journalists in London 'sent death threats by Revolutionary Guard'

Reporters are facing an 'imminent' risk to their lives, Farsi-language news channel says

Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps take part in a military drill. Reuters
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A UK-based news channel has expressed shock and deep concern after learning that some of its British-Iranian journalists and their families had received death threats.

Iran International said that two employees, both dual citizens of Iran and the UK, have in recent days become the target of an increased number of threats.

The channel said its reporters “are subject to abuse 24/7 on social media” but the recent threats mark a “significant and dangerous escalation of a state-sponsored campaign to intimidate Iranian journalists working abroad”.

“Iran International, the independent UK-based Farsi-language news channel is shocked and deeply concerned by the credible threats to life its journalists have received from the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps],” the channel said in a statement released on Monday.

“The Metropolitan Police have now formally notified both journalists that these threats represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families.”

It added that other members of staff had also received threats.

The development comes on the back of weeks of warnings from the IRGC and Tehran about the work of Iran International, the statement said.

The channel is highly critical of the Iranian regime and has placed it under increased scrutiny following the start of widespread protests in the country.

The death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in Tehran in September sparked some of the largest anti-government protests in Iran's history.

The 22-year-old woman died in hospital after being detained by Iran’s morality police.

Campaigners and human rights groups claim she was beaten but a coroner ruled that she had not died from blows to head but rather from an underlying illness.

Activists protest outside the Iranian embassy in London after the death of Mahsa Amini. PA

Her death has led to a spike in international criticism of Tehran, particularly from Iranians living abroad.

Headquartered in west London, Iran International was founded in 2017 and is owned by Volent Media. The channel reports on human rights abuses including honour killings and gender-based violence in Iran.

The channel’s target audience is Iran’s 85 million citizens as well as Iranians living abroad. It has accused Tehran of extending its “pernicious media crackdown” to outlets outside Iran's borders, most notably in the UK.

It said that the IRGC must not be “allowed to act abroad with impunity”.

“We hope that the UK government, international governments and other organisations will join us in condemning these horrific threats and continue to highlight the importance of media freedom,” it added.

In response to the statement, the Met said: “We do not comment on matters of protective security in relation to any specific individuals. We would advise anyone with concerns over their safety to contact police so that officers can assess the situation and offer any safety and security advice as and where necessary.”

Updated: November 07, 2022, 5:04 PM
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