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Iran Intelligence Ministry Threatens Iran International TV Employees

Studio of Iran International TV, based in London, undated.
Studio of Iran International TV, based in London, undated.

In a statement released on Saturday Iran's Intelligence Ministry said working for the London-based Iran International Television is "proof of collaboration in terrorist actions with the enemies of Iran" and claimed that it has arrested a number of individuals on charges of sending information to Iran International Television.

Iran International is a private entity registered in the United Kingdom broadcasting 24/7 to Iran on satellite channels.

The statement referred to the Judiciary's recent ban on financial transactions with the employees of Iran International Television and claimed that they will be "prosecuted at an international level” too.

In a statement on November 26, Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) condemned the Iranian security forces' pressure and threats against the families of Iranian journalists working abroad. According to RSF the families of journalists working for media outlets such as Radio Farda, BBC Persian, Voice of America, Iran International, Manoto TV and the London-based Kayhan Newspaper have been threatened by Iranian security forces.

In its annual press freedom ranking, the Paris-based Reporters Without Frontiers, said Iran dropped six places to 170th out of 180 countries and territories.

In the past 10 years the Iranian security forces have on numerous occasions arrested individuals on charges of collaborating with foreign-based and diaspora media. The media outlets refute these claims and say they have no correspondents inside Iran.

The Iranian security forces have also intimidated the families of journalists working for the Persian-language media outside Iran and have forced them to tell their journalist family members to stop working for these outlets.

In its statement the Iranian Intelligence Ministry has said: "Those employees of these channels who repent and stop collaborating with satellite television channels will be treated with Islamic mercy and compassion."

Mizan Online, the official mouthpiece of Iran's Judiciary said on Sunday that a number of "key and influential" employees of Iran International Television have come under legal and judicial constraints regarding property transactions in Iran.

In August 2016 the Iranian Judiciary banned more than 150 individuals working for the Persian-language BBC television and radio from making any financial transactions inside Iran. The ban prevents these individuals from financial transactions including selling their properties in Iran, even through their attorneys. Iranian journalists who work abroad generally avoid travelling to Iran for fear of being prosecuted.

In recent months a number of journalists working for Radio Farda have been banned from making financial transactions in Iran too.

"The same Iranian regime that has been killing protesters in the streets is now targeting those brave Iranians at Radio Farda and at other media outlets who are only trying to bring objective news and information to the Iranian people," Jamie Fly, the President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty tweeted on November 28.