Briton has been arrested in Iran for tipping off foreign media – including the BBC – about protests over Mahsa Amini’s death
- BBC journalists complained of threats and intimidation following coverage of protests
- The Iranian authorities call the BBC a ‘hostile’ television channel
- Unnamed arrested person has dual citizenship, which is not recognized by Iran
A British-Iranian dual national has been arrested for tipping off foreign media, including the BBC, about protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, Iran’s Fars news agency 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 at home and abroad.
The broadcaster blames the Iranian government for this, which describes it as a ‘hostile’ television channel.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody after being detained in Tehran by Iranian morality police who thought she was wearing her hijab too loosely
In this photo taken on September 19, 2022, a police motorcycle and a garbage can are on fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini
An unveiled woman stands atop a vehicle on Oct. 26, 2022 as thousands head to the Aichi cemetery in Saqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini in Iran’s western Kurdistan province, to mark 40 days after her death
Iran, which does not accept joint citizenship, has accused Britain of fomenting the two months of protests since Amini’s death in police custody.
The Fars report gave no name, gender or date of arrest, saying only that the arrest was made by the intelligence services and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the city of Isfahan.
Fars described the detainee as “a source for hostile television channels, namely the BBC and Iran International,” the latter being a Saudi Arabia-affiliated channel operating out of London.
On Saturday, anti-terror police were seen on guard outside Iran International’s West London studios following warnings from MI5 that the regime’s agents could target British journalists.
Armed Metropolitan Police officers appeared to be patrolling the studios in Chiswick.
A Metropolitan Police Jankel ‘Guardian’ armored vehicle and an Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) stand outside a building housing Iran’s news channel Iran International on Nov. 19, 2022
An insider at the agency said it was “deeply concerning” that the armed officers were patrolling outside the offices, adding that it must be “based on a specific threat to us.”
In the meantime. the detainee had “direct and family ties to some of the channel’s journalists,” the news agency added.
“In addition to working with these television stations, this individual communicated and collaborated with certain counter-revolutionary elements abroad and incited civil disobedience, riots, security breaches, vandalism and the destruction of public property during the recent riots.”
Iran has engaged the British ambassador in Tehran four times since the protests began.
Earlier this month, Britain brought in a senior Iranian diplomat in London after what it described as death threats against journalists living in the UK.
Two British-Iranian journalists working for Iran International in Britain had received “credible” death threats from Iranian security forces, the channel said.
Volant Media, the channel’s London-based broadcaster, said the pair had received “death threats” from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran International has extensively covered the protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16 after she was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.
Iran has arrested 40 foreigners amid the wave of “riots,” judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said in a commentary on news website Mizan Online on Tuesday.