IOPHR strongly condemns last Friday’s attempt to assassinate Pouria Zeraati, the television host of the “Last Word” program of Iran International channel outside his house in Wimbledon. 

As a result of the attack, Mr Zeraati sustained knife wounds across several parts of his body; however, thankfully, he was well enough to be released on Monday, 1st April. 

The Metropolitan Police in London, after launching an investigation into the attack according to recent reports, has determined the attack to be as part of ongoing security threats posed by Iranian security operatives outside of Iran.

The attack on Zeraati comes shortly after the disclosure of leaked top-secret intelligence documents, revealing Tehran’s targeting of several UK-based personnel of Iran International TV. These threats extended to their family members based in Iran, with the imposition of financial sanctions amidst the nationwide protests in 2019.

In November 2022, London Police protected Iran International’s offices after having received intelligence of real threats against two of the channel’s journalists in London and in early 2023, the network was forced to temporarily cease operations in London and relocate its broadcasting studios to Washington.

All this is a clear attempt by the Iranian security forces to intimate journalists both inside and outside of Iran, as was stated by the Iranian Intelligence Minister Ismail Khatib in an interview with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s website in late 2022 that those who work with Iran International TV would be “pursued” by his ministry. He further stated: “from now on, any kind of connection with this terrorist organisation will be considered to be tantamount to entering the field of terrorism and a threat to national security.”

Therefore, IOPHR once again asks the UK government to stop its appeasement policies towards the Iranian regime and proscribe IRGC and cut off all diplomatic ties with the Iranian regime. As the Iranian regime is clearly focused on undermining democratic values within the UK by preventing journalistic freedoms that are the corner stone of UK democracy.

Kind regards, 

Mattie Heaven


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