HomeWorldMiddle EastIranian Journalists Face Escalating Threats and Violence Abroad: UN Experts Warn

Iranian Journalists Face Escalating Threats and Violence Abroad: UN Experts Warn

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In a stark warning issued by United Nations experts, concerns have been raised over the escalating threats and violence targeting Persian language news service Iran International, its journalists, and staff, along with its owner Volant Media UK Limited.

The recent violent stabbing of journalist Pouria Zeraati outside his London home on March 29th serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers faced by media personnel operating outside Iran.

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The incidents, which have been ongoing since 2017, have seen a disturbing surge in aggression following the 2022 “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests in Iran.

The Iranian authorities and their proxies have intensified their campaign of harassment, falsely accusing Persian media abroad of inciting unrest and exacerbating the abuse.

According to experts, there have been at least 15 credible Iranian plots to kill or kidnap individuals in the United Kingdom since 2022 alone.

British counter-terrorism police issued warnings to two Iran International personnel, including Volant’s General Manager Mahmoud Enayat, of “imminent threats to their lives” in November 2022, prompting their evacuation from the UK.

Additionally, a plot to kill two television presenters, including Fardad Farahzad, was thwarted in November 2023. The chilling effect of these attacks and threats extends beyond physical violence.

Journalists both inside and outside Iran face the looming specter of intimidation, as evidenced by an incident in September 2023 where Iran International journalist Kian Amani was assaulted by a member of Iran’s delegation to the United Nations in New York.

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The Iranian government’s response has been one of imposition. In 2022, Iran imposed travel and financial sanctions on Volant Media and Iran International, citing their alleged support for terrorism. Further, in 2019, the assets of the owners and their family members in Iran were frozen.

The misuse of counter-terrorism laws against journalists has drawn condemnation from the UN experts.

Such actions not only violate fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and association but also erode the principles of due process and judicial safeguards.

These attacks against Iran International are not isolated incidents but rather part of a broader pattern targeting Persian language media and dissidents outside Iran.

In response to the alarming escalation of violence, the experts have urged Iran to cease all forms of violence, threats, and intimidation against Iran International and its staff, both online and offline.

They have called for a thorough investigation and prosecution of those responsible for such acts.

The Special Rapporteurs on the human rights situation in Iran, on rights protection while countering terrorism, on freedom of opinion and expression, on peaceful association and assembly, and on extrajudicial executions have come together to raise this urgent alarm.

Appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, these experts are mandated to monitor and report on specific human rights sectors and country situations, highlighting violations and advocating for accountability.

As attacks against journalists persist, the international community faces a critical juncture in safeguarding press freedom and upholding human rights standards worldwide.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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