Iranian opposition figure Masih Alinejad

Alinejad Given Police Protection On UK Visit After Renewed Threats

Thursday, 05/11/2023

Iranian dissident figure Masih Alinejad has been put under police protection on a visit to the UK as threats to her life continue.

The US-based opposition activist, in London to meet lawmakers and lobby for proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, said she has been put under 24-hour police protection in the UK after the Metropolitan police received threats to her life.

After she appeared at the Piers Morgan Uncensored show earlier this week, British police came to see her at her hotel room, informing her that they would be giving her protection during the remainder of her stay. 

However, unperturbed, in spite of numerous threats to her life from IRGC operatives abroad, the fearless campaigner said: “I’m not as scared for my life, I survived kidnapping plots,” she said. “I survived an assassination plot, so I am not scared for my life at all. I dedicate my life to giving voice to voiceless people.”

Alinejad said the move confirmed the level of danger she continues to live under, the regime seeing her outspoken leadership against the Islamic Republic as a major threat.

“I know that the British are a little bit relaxed when it comes to death threats. Now, I believe that the level of the threat is very intense, and it’s very serious.”

It has, however, given her direct access to security chiefs to fight for proscribing the IRGC, which has been behind numerous attacks globally, not only on Iranian soil.

Since 2015, there has been a surge in IRGC activity in the UK, Europe and the United States. Most recently, UK spy agency MI5 acknowledged the real threat from Iran’s “aggressive intelligence services” to kidnap or kill UK-based people in 2022.

Earlier this year, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard took credit for the relocation of Iran International studios from the UK to the US following terror threats, calling it a victory for the Islamic Republic.

Iran International was warned by authorities in November that its journalists were under threat from Iranian agents and the Metropolitan Police took measures to strengthen security around the network’s office in the area.

Armored police vehicles are seen outside the headquarters of Iran International on Nov. 19, 2022

On February 18, the network announced that following the advice of UK anti-terrorism officials it decided to temporarily move its studio operations to the US.

In her remarks at Sir Harry Evans Global Summit in Investigative Journalism on Wednesday, she said, "I told the members of the British Parliament that you asked the Iran International network to stop their work in London... Instead of canceling the activities of journalists, you should stop the Islamic Republic."

She made the remarks at a panel discussion titled "Iran's War Against Journalists," during which she talked about the latest developments of the "Women, Life, Freedom" protests in Iran, sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, and the Islamic Republic’s repression of journalists and any voice of dissent at home and abroad.

In February, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Iran is reportedly preparing to close the British embassy in Tehran as tensions simmer over a plot to kill journalists in the UK, and London’s rebuke of crackdown on dissent. 

The British embassy in Tehran has been a regular flashpoint in recent years. In December, its walls were defaced by the Basij paramilitary militia, one of the forces operating under the IRGC, with slogans labelling it a “terrorist center”.

Alinejad, who has become one of the main opposition figures amplifying the voice of protesters inside Iran, has appeared at the UN and met with several European leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and the Netherland’s Mark Rutte.

Talks about further restrictions on the activities of the regime and proscribing the IRGC have been among the hot topics at the British parliament in the past several months.

Despite repeated calls by a large number of lawmakers, London has failed to take any tangible actions against Iran and its most important arm the IRGC. However, several rounds of sanctions and other punitive measures have been taken but Iranian people suffering under the atrocities of the regime do not believe that they have been enough.

Earlier in the week, The UK’s Charity Commission removed trustees from the board of the Islamic Center of England for its links to Iran. The UK's security minister Tom Tugendhat welcomed the decision by the regulator, saying its leadership was appointed by the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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