Iran International suspends operations in Chiswick after continued threats against journalists

Image above: inside Iran international studios; photograph Matt Smith

TV station faced “significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran”

Independent TV network Iran International has ‘reluctantly’ suspended its operations in the UK because of threats against its Chiswick-based journalists.

The Persian-language TV channel said that the decision was due to a “significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran”.

“Threats had grown to the point that it was felt it was no longer possible to protect the channel’s staff” the company said.

The station will continue to broadcast from its offices in Washington DC.

In November, two British-Iranian journalists from the channel were warned by police of a possible risk to their lives. An armed police presence was stationed near the channel’s studios in Chiswick, west London, and concrete barriers were placed outside the building.

READ ALSOArmed police guard Iranian TV studio in Chiswick Park after death threats to journalists

The Metropolitan Police said 15 plots had been foiled since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime.

Image above: armed terror police at Chiswick Business Park

“Not just a threat to our TV station, but the British public at large”

Iran International has been one of the most prominent providers of news on the recent wave of anti-government protests in Iran. This has made them a target by the Iranian regime, which has accused them of supporting terrorism.

“I cannot believe it has come to this,” said the network’s general manager, Mahmood Enayat.

“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.”

Iran International has been one of the most prominent providers of news on the recent wave of anti-government protests in Iran.

Protests swept across the country in September following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab according to the requirements of Iranian religious law.

Image above: inside Iran International studios; photograph Matt Smith

Media freedom “vital part of our society” 

There is an ongoing criminal case currently in which a man who was detained at Chiswick Business Park on Saturday 11 February has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Business Park terror suspect appears in court

Magomed-Husekjn Dovtaev, 30, appeared in court last week with terrorism after collecting information outside the channel’s Chiswick headquarters. The Austrian national will appear at the Old Bailey on 3 March.

In November, British-Iranian journalists based in the UK were warned by police of imminent threats, which prompted increased security measures and calls from the House of Commons for the UK to proscribe Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group. Shortly after, an unnamed British-Iranian citizen was arrested in Iran for allegedly sharing information with foreign-based news channels.

“Media freedom is a vital part of our society and journalists must be able to investigate and report independently without fear,” a government spokesperson said.

“We will not tolerate any threat to media organisations or journalists. We know the Iranian regime has established a pattern of this type of behaviour which is completely unacceptable, yet sadly typical of the regime and its lack of respect for basic rights.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Three Ukrainian refugees share their stories, a year on from escaping the war to settle in Chiswick

See also: Turkish charity based in London tops £1million in donations

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.