London accuses Tehran of death threats against British journalists

The British government on Friday accused Iran of issuing death threats against journalists based in the United Kingdom and for this reason summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires, the diplomatic chief said. “We do not tolerate threats or intimidation by foreign nations against people living in the UK,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted.

The summons comes as a London-based Persian-language TV channel – Iran International – reported earlier this week that two of its journalists working in Britain had received death threats from the Revolutionary Guards (Tehran’s ideological army). According to the group that owns the channel, the scale of the threats prompted London police to “officially inform the two journalists that these threats pose an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families”.

Dozens of journalists have also been arrested in Iran

Iran International particularly covers the protests that have taken place in Iran since the death in mid-September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who died three days after her arrest in Tehran by the morality police who accused her of breaking The dress code of the Islamic Republic, which specifically mandates the wearing of veils for women.

The protest – on a scale the country had not seen for three years – was bloodily suppressed, with nearly two hundred dead, according to the count of an NGO based outside Iran. Dozens of journalists have also been arrested in the country.

Tensions between the two countries in recent months

But the Iranian authorities accuse London of hosting these Persian channels, which are hostile to it and cover the demonstrations widely. They said on Wednesday that Britain was trying to destabilize the Islamic Republic and was “obviously” involved in “propaganda” for protests. In early October, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to protest “the British Foreign Office’s interference in Iran’s internal affairs”.

The announcement of the Iranian ChargĂ© d’Affaires’ summons to London comes as British police announced on Friday that they had put a “protection plan” in place for an Iranian wrestling champion living in Scotland, Melika Balali, who also received verbal threats according to her by the Iranian authorities. Melika Balali, 22, who has been an outspoken activist for women’s rights in Iran since she left the country a year ago, has publicly voiced her support for Iranian protesters. “They tried to find out where I live and who I train with,” she said in a BBC interview broadcast on Thursday.

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