Briton arrested in Iran for telling foreign media – including BBC – about protests over Mahsa Amini’s death
- BBC journalists have complained of threats and intimidation after covering the protests
- Iranian authorities have branded the BBC a ‘hostile’ TV channel
- Anonymous arrestee holds dual citizenship, which is not recognized by Iran
A British-Iranian dual national has been arrested for telling foreign media, including the BBC, about the protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, Iranian news agency Fars reported on Wednesday.
The BBC, which broadcasts in Iran as part of its World Service, has repeatedly complained of threats and intimidation against its journalists and their families in the country and abroad.
The broadcaster blamed this on the Iranian government, which described it as a “hostile” TV channel.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody after being detained in Tehran by Iranian morality police who believed she was wearing her hijab too loosely
In this image taken on September 19, 2022, a police motorbike and a trash can burn during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini
An unveiled woman stands atop a vehicle on October 26, 2022 as thousands of people march to the Aichi cemetery in Saqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini in Iran’s western province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since his death
Iran, which does not accept joint citizenship, has accused Britain of stoking the two months of protests since Amini’s death in police custody.
The Fars report gave no name, gender or date of arrest, stating only that the arrest was carried out by intelligence services and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the city of Isfahan.
Fars described the detainee as “a source for hostile TV channels, namely the BBC and Iran International”, the latter being a Saudi-linked channel operating out of London.
Anti-terror police officers were seen on guard outside the Iran International studios in west London on Saturday following warnings from MI5 that regime agents could attack UK-based journalists.
Armed Metropolitan Police officers were apparently patrolling the Chiswick studios.
A Metropolitan Police Jankel ‘Guardian’ armored vehicle and Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) sit outside a building housing Iranian news channel Iran International on November 19, 2022
A station insider said it was “very concerning” that armed officers were patrolling outside the offices, adding that it “must be based on a specific threat to us”.
Meanwhile. the detainee had “a direct link and family ties with some journalists of the channel”, the news agency added.
“In addition to working with these television stations, this individual communicated and cooperated with certain counter-revolutionary elements abroad and incited civil disobedience, riots, security breaches, vandalism and destruction. of public property during the recent riots.”
Iran has called the British ambassador to Tehran four times since the protests began.
Earlier this month Britain brought a senior Iranian diplomat to London after what it described as death threats against journalists living in the UK.
Two British-Iranian journalists working in Britain for Iran International have received “credible” death threats from Iranian security forces, the channel said.
Volant Media, the channel’s London-based broadcaster, said the couple had received “death threats from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
Iran International provided extensive coverage of protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16 after he was arrested for allegedly breaking Iran’s strict dress code for women.
Iran has arrested 40 foreign nationals during the wave of “riots”, judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said on Tuesday in comments carried by his news site Mizan Online.