A view from Iran International studios (file photo)

Tehran Will Continue Pressure on Iran International, Says Official

Friday, 06/07/2024

Tehran has vowed to continue threatening the news channel Iran International in blatant disregard of the call by UN experts to cease its transnational violence against the UK-based network and its journalists.

Kazem Gharibabadi, head of the Judiciary's Human Rights Headquarters, labeled the network as "terrorist" on social media platform X and issued threats against its employees.

Calling the news network a "puppet of the Zionist regime," Gharibabadi said that the Islamic Republic has designated the channel as a "terrorist" entity and is "pursuing its agents and associates."

The official further implied that Iran International sought help from human rights organizations to reduce Iran's pressure on them.

His comment come a week after five UN experts condemned transnational violence, "death threats, and intimidation against Iran International staff."

The UN experts were clear about their perception of the threat. “We are deeply alarmed that death threats and intimidation against Iran International staff escalated into the violent stabbing of journalist Pouria Zeraati outside his home in London on 29 March 2024."

In reaction to the UN experts’ statement, Kazem Gharibabadi did not deny Islamic Republic’s threats against the channel.

He said that Iran International TV “has appealed to human rights mechanisms in hopes of reducing Iran's pressure, unaware that we will not appease terrorists!”

Zeraati, one of the network’s television hosts and journalists, was stabbed outside his home in London in March, prompting British police to launch a counterterrorism investigation.

A spokesman for the network said, "Iran International TV stands as a beacon of independent journalism, dedicated to delivering accurate and unbiased information. The network prides itself on upholding the highest principles of journalism, ensuring that its reporting remains fair and impartial."

The spokesman said the pressures will not have any impact on Iran International’s work and its reporting.

The mission is to provide comprehensive news coverage to Iranians both within the country and abroad, the spokesman added. "This commitment is reflected in the channel's rigorous approach to news gathering and reporting, which includes timely updates and in-depth analysis of key developments in Iran and around the world."

Last year, Scotland Yard disclosed that police and MI5 had foiled 15 plots since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals perceived as “enemies of the Iranian regime.”

The five special UN rapporteurs urged the Iranian authorities to “refrain from violence, threats and intimidation against Iran International and its staff, online and offline, and other journalists and media workers reporting on Iran from abroad.”

The threats faced by Iran International and its staff from Iranian authorities and their proxies are intended to silence critical media reporting on Iran, the experts assert.

Since its founding, the network and its journalists have endured threats, but these reportedly surged dramatically after the "Woman, Life, Freedom" protests erupted across Iran in 2022.

After multiple threats from Tehran, Iran International was temporarily forced to relocate its broadcasting activities to the US in 2023. The broadcaster has since resumed its work from a studio in the UK.

In 2022, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) orchestrated an assassination plot targeting two Iran International news presenters, Fardad Farahzad and Sima Sabet. The plan initially involved a car bomb but was later foiled by a double agent working for a Western intelligence agency.

The following year, Iran International journalist Kian Amani was physically and verbally assaulted by a member of Iran’s delegation to the United Nations at a hotel in New York.

The experts also asserted that the threats emanating from Iran were part of a broader pattern of attacks against Persian language media and dissidents abroad, including journalists working for BBC News Persian, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, IranWire, and Radio Farda.

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