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Tehran Designates London-Based Iran International News A 'Terrorist' Organization

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda November 09, 2022

Iran's intelligence minister says the London-based Iran International news channel has been designated as a "terrorist" organization and that employees and those "related" to the outlet will be prosecuted.

Speaking in an interview with the website of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ismail Khatib said that any connection with the Persian-language broadcaster would be considered cooperation with terrorists and a threat to national security.

He also attacked the United Kingdom for hosting three Persian-language TV channels and threatened that Britain "will pay for its actions to harm the security of Iran."

Iran International, Manoto TV, and BBC Persian are all headquartered in London, aimed at Iranian viewers, and broadcast free-to-air by satellite.

Iran International has yet to comment on the designation. Khatib did not say whether the other two broadcasters also received the "terrorist organization" designation. Iran International is believed to have links to the Saudi Arabian government, Tehran's regional rival.

The move comes weeks after a senior Iranian judiciary official said the broadcasters should be given the designation for supposedly inciting riots that are currently sweeping across the country.

Officials have tried to blame Western governments for the unrest, which was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was in police custody for an alleged dress-code violation relating to how she was wearing a head scarf.

They have not presented any evidence to back up the claim, but have used it in part to launch a deadly crackdown on dissent, the media, and civil society that rights groups say has resulted in more than 300 deaths and thousands of arrests.

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence had previously named employees of Iran International as "enemies of the state," saying that those who "serve foreigners" and "betray the country" will be punished.

The move by Tehran comes a day after Iran International said in a statement that London's Metropolitan Police had informed the broadcaster of an imminent threat against two of its journalists and their families.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-international- terrorist-organization/32122561.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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