A London-based Iranian news station says it has been forced to close its UK headquarters due to threats from Tehran and fears for the safety of its journalists.
Iran International TV says it has “reluctantly” closed its studios in west London and moved the business to its offices in Washington DC.
The broadcaster said the move follows warnings from the Metropolitan Police that “serious” and “serious” concerns about “hostile intentions of foreign states” remain.
It comes as Scotland Yard revealed that police and MI5 had foiled 15 plots since early 2022 to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals considered its enemies Iranian regime.
Police say a man was arrested in the area around the television studio on Monday and charged with terrorist offenses related to the surveillance of the company’s headquarters.
Head of Counter-Terrorism Policing (CTP), Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes, said in a statement: “In light of the ongoing investigation following the arrest of a man last weekend in the area and despite extraordinary security measures, we still have serious security concerns of people working in this company.
“This has led us to take further advice and the company is now moving.
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“We would like to thank the company for their continued understanding with this as we continue to support them.”
He added that the advice to the broadcaster to relocate was “not taken lightly”.
Mahmood Enayat, director general of Iran International TV, said in a statement that a “foreign state” posed “such a significant threat to the British public on British soil that we have to move.”
“I can’t believe it’s gotten to this point,” he said.
“Let’s be clear, this is not just a threat to our broadcaster but to the British public in general.
“Furthermore, this is an attack on the values of sovereignty, security and freedom of speech that the UK has always held dear.”
Mr Enayat said the broadcaster “refused to be silenced by these cowardly threats” and vowed the station would continue broadcasting, adding: “We are undeterred”.
A government spokesman said: “Media freedom is a vital part of our society and journalists should be able to investigate and report independently without fear.
“We will not tolerate any threats to media organizations or journalists. We know that the Iranian regime has created a pattern of this type of behavior that is completely unacceptable, but unfortunately characteristic of the regime and its lack of respect for basic rights.
“Police continue to work in response to this threat. We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to protect people in the UK from any threats from the Iranian state.”