Briton is arrested in Iran for tipping off foreign media – including BBC – about protests over death of Mahsa Amini
- BBC journalists complained of threats and intimidation after protest coverage
- Iranian authorities have referred to BBC as ‘hostile’ television channel
- Unnamed arrested person holds dual nationality, which is not recognised by Iran
A British-Iranian dual national has been arrested for tipping off foreign media, including the BBC, about protests sparked by 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 has blamed this on the Iranian government, which has described it as a ‘hostile’ television channel.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody after being detained in Tehran by Iranian morality police who believed she was wearing her hijab too loosely
In this image taken on Sept. 19, 2022, a police motorcycle and a trash bin are burning during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini
An unveiled woman stands on top of a vehicle on October 26, 2022 as thousands make their way towards Aichi cemetery in Saqez, Mahsa Amini’s home town in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since her death
Iran, which does not accept joint citizenship, has accused Britain of fanning the two months of protests since Amini’s death in morality 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-linked channel operating out of London.
On Saturday, anti-terror police were seen on guard outside Iran International’s studios in west London, following warnings from MI5 that the regime’s agents could attack UK-based journalists.
Armed officers from the Metropolitan Police were seem patrolling the studios in Chiswick.
A Metropolitan Police Jankel ‘Guardian’ armoured vehicle and Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) sit outside a building housing Iranian news channel Iran International on November 19, 2022
An insider at the station said it was ‘very concerning’ that the armed officers were patrolling outside the offices, adding that it ‘must be based on a specific threat to us’.
Meanwhile. the detainee had a ‘direct link and family ties with some of the channels’ journalists,’ the news agency added.
‘Beyond working with these television channels, this individual communicated and cooperated with certain counter-revolutionary elements abroad and incited civil disobedience, rioting, security breaches, vandalism and the destruction of public property during the recent riots.’
Iran has called in the British ambassador in Tehran four times since the protests started.
Earlier this month, Britain hauled 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 in Britain for Iran International had received ‘credible’ death threats from Iran’s 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 provided extensive coverage of the protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16 after she was arrested for allegedly breaching Iran’s strict dress code for women.
Iran has arrested 40 foreign nationals during the wave of ‘riots’, judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said in comments carried by its Mizan Online news website on Tuesday.