'We're the only means that Iranians can see the protests'

Security upped for UK-based Persian news station after threats from Iranian regime

Concrete barriers erected outside Iran International’s London office, which has been covering protests in Islamic Republic; spokesperson says staff are ‘more anxious’ than panicked

People wave pre-Islamic revolution Iran's flags and banners as they take part in a protest against Iranian authorities, in London, October 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
People wave pre-Islamic revolution Iran's flags and banners as they take part in a protest against Iranian authorities, in London, October 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

LONDON, United Kingdom — The Iran International TV channel on Friday said that further security measures have been put in place around its London offices after threats from the regime in Tehran.

Concrete barriers have been erected similar to those at key government buildings and tourist spots in the British capital, to prevent vehicle attacks.

The barriers were “guaranteed to stop a 7.5-tonne truck at 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour,” a spokesman for the Persian-language channel said.

Vehicle access in and around the site would also be controlled and checks carried out, he added.

The threats were an escalation of years of intimidation because of its broadcasting of protests in Iran, the spokesman told AFP.

“We’re the only channel running 24/7 coverage of the protests,” he said.

But he added: “We’re not the voice of the protests. We’re the only means that people in Iran can see them.”

The spokesman, who asked not to be identified, stressed that Iran International was not an opposition channel and its staff were not activists.

“We were set up as a service for people in Iran and the diaspora,” he said.

Last week, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that armed police vehicles had been deployed outside the TV studios.

That followed “severe and credible” death threats against two of its UK-based journalists from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The UK government promptly hauled in Iran’s highest-ranking diplomat to the country for a dressing-down.

Earlier this week, the Kan public broadcaster reported that Israel provided intelligence information to the British authorities that enabled them to foil the planned attacks against local journalists.

Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

MI5, the UK domestic intelligence agency, has uncovered at least 10 plots by Iran to kill UK-based individuals deemed to be “enemies of the regime” so far this year, its boss said last week.

The channel employs about 100 staff in London, whose coverage of the protests largely involves sifting through and verifying social media content of the demonstrations.

Iranian staff were “more anxious” than panicked about the threats and more worried about the safety of their families back home, as well as the wider impact of the protests, said the spokesman for the channel.

“We all don’t know what the hell is going to happen. That’s stressful,” he said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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