Hayes & Harlington Gazette
Threats force Iranian TV channel to leave Chiswick HQ
A TV channel said it has been forced to close its West London headquarters after “a significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran”.
Independent network Iran International TV said it would move broadcasting to Washington DC as it could not guarantee the safety of its staff at Chiswick Business Park, West London.
Since anti-regime protests broke out in Iran in September the broadcaster said it has been increasingly under threat. The channel said it was warned by authorities in November that its journalists were under threat and the Metropolitan Police took measures to strengthen security in the area. Last Saturday (February 11) a man was arrested in the vicinity of the headquarters and was charged with a terrorism offence, which he pleaded not guilty to.
Mahmood Enayat, General Manager of Iran International TV, said: “I cannot believe it has come to this. A foreign state has caused such a significant threat to the British public on British soil that we have to move.”
He added: “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.
“Day and night our journalists strive to deliver the 85mn people of Iran and its diaspora the independent, uncensored news they deserve. We refuse to be silenced by these cowardly threats. We will continue to broadcast. We are undeterred.”
The news that the station will relocate was announced on Saturday (February 18), with the broadcaster saying the decision came after receiving advice from the Met.