London-based Iranian broadcaster forced to close after Met warns of ‘hostile’ foreign threats
A dissident Iranian broadcaster has been forced to stop broadcasting from its headquarters in London following threats from Tehran and fears over the safety of its journalists.
Iran International TV will relocate to Washington DC after the Met Police warned of “serious” and “grave” concerns about the “intentions of foreign states”.
On Saturday, the channel said it had “reluctantly” closed its studios in Chiswick but that staff would “refuse to be silenced by these cowardly threats”.
It comes after a man was arrested on Monday in the same area and charged with terrorism offences related to the surveillance of the company’s headquarters.
Mahmood Enayat, general manager of Iran International TV, said in a statement: “I cannot believe it has come to this.
“A foreign state has caused such a significant threat to the British public on British soil that we have to move.
“Let’s be clear, this is not just a threat to our TV station but the British public at large.
“Even more this is an assault on the values of sovereignty, security and free speech that the UK has always held dear.”
He added: “Day and night our journalists strive to deliver the 85 million people of Iran and its diaspora the independent, uncensored news they deserve.
“We refuse to be silenced by these cowardly threats. We will continue to broadcast. We are undeterred.”
The Met said police and MI5 have foiled 15 plots since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP), said the force had deployed an armed policing presence around the west London offices in response to the heightened security threat.
He added that the Met “still have serious concerns for the safety of people working at this company”.
"We also appreciate that talking to a media company about moving their operations from a particular location - even though it is due to grave safety concerns - is exceptional. The advice to relocate has not been given lightly,” he added.
“The situation that journalists face around the world and the fact that some journalists face such hostile intentions of foreign states whilst in the UK is a challenging reality that we are determined to confront.”