A London-based Iranian news station says it has been forced to shut its UK headquarters over threats from Tehran and fears for the safety of its journalists.
Iran International TV says it has “reluctantly” closed its west London studios and moved the operation to its offices in Washington DC.
The broadcaster said the move follows warnings from the Metropolitan Police that there remain “serious” and “grave” concerns about “hostile intentions of foreign states”.
It comes as Scotland Yard revealed that police and MI5 had foiled 15 plots since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime.
Police say a man was arrested in the area around the TV studio on Monday and charged with terrorism offences 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 that follows the arrest of a man last weekend in that area, and despite extraordinary security measures, we still have serious concerns for the safety of people working at this company.
“This has led to us giving further advice and the company is now relocating.
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“We would like to thank the company for their ongoing understanding with this as we continue to support them.”
He added that the advice to the TV station to relocate had “not been given lightly”.
Mahmood Enayat, general manager of Iran International TV, said in a statement that a “foreign state” had caused “such a significant threat to the British public on British soil that we have to move”.
“I cannot believe it has come to this,” he said.
“Let’s be clear, this is not just a threat to our TV station but the British public at large.
“Even more this is an assault on the values of sovereignty, security and free speech that the UK has always held dear.”
Mr Enayat said the TV station “refused to be silenced by these cowardly threats” and vowed that the station will continue to broadcast, adding: “We are undeterred.”
A government spokesperson said: “Media freedom is a vital part of our society and journalists must be able to investigate and report independently without fear.
“We will not tolerate any threat to media organisations or journalists. We know the Iranian regime has established a pattern of this type of behaviour which is completely unacceptable, yet sadly typical of the regime and its lack of respect for basic rights.
“The police are continuing to work in response to this threat. We will continue to use all tools at our disposal to protect individuals in the UK against any threats from the Iranian state.”