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Iran threatens to kill UK journalists, news agency says

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Ali Khamenei/Released)
November 11, 2022

A branch of the Iranian military recently made “imminent” and “credible” threats to the lives of two journalists in the U.K. before Iran labeled their news agency a terrorist organization.

The threats were aimed at unnamed British-Iranian journalists with Iran International, a 24-hour Persian-language news channel based in London and available in Iran, which announced the threats on Monday.

The announcement stated that “other members of our staff have also been informed directly by the Metropolitan Police of separate threats.”

Iran International said the threats came from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful branch of its military labeled as a terrorist organization by the U.S. since 2019. The news agency said the “lethal threats” followed “several weeks of warnings” from Iran about its coverage.

One day after the threats were announced, Iran’s intelligence minister said Iran International was being labeled a terrorist organization for allegedly inciting the massive protests that have rocked the Islamic republic in recent weeks, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Reports have also suggested Iran International is backed by Saudi Arabia, a bitter rival of Iran. The news agency denied connections with any government, CNN reported, but Iran state news recently promoted the allegations.

On Friday, Iran International tweeted that Britain’s foreign ministry had called a meeting with a top Iranian diplomat to say the threats against British citizens were unacceptable.

Journalists with Iran International have been on the ground with exclusive coverage of the ongoing protests in Iran, sparked when a 22-year-old woman died after morality police arrested her over the arrangement of her hijab.

Iran has arrested at least 61 journalists amid the protests, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Iran International’s announcement said Iran, and the IRGC especially, “cannot be allowed to export their pernicious media crackdown to the UK. The IRGC cannot be allowed to act abroad with impunity.”