UK counter-terrorism police are investigating an attack on an Iranian TV presenter outside his London home.

LONDON (AP) – British counterterrorism police are investigating the stabbing of an Iranian television presenter outside his London home as concerns grow over threats to a Farsi-language satellite news channel that has long criticized the theocratic government. of Iran.

Pouria Zeraati, a presenter for London-based Iran International, was stabbed in the leg on Friday afternoon and is in stable condition in a hospital, the station said. Her condition is not believed to be life-threatening.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service said the occupation of Zeraati, along with recent threats to Iranian journalists based in the United Kingdom, triggered the counter-terrorism investigation, although the motivation for the attack remains unclear.

“As we continue to assess the circumstances of this incident, detectives are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry and our priority at this time is to try to identify those who were behind this attack and arrest them,” said Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the police. the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said in a statement.

“I appreciate the wider concern this incident may cause, particularly among others in similar lines of work and those in Iranian communities.”

Iran International spokesman Adam Baillie said the stabbing was “extremely terrifying”. Although the channel’s journalists have been threatened in the past, this is the first attack of its kind, Baillie told the BBC.

“It was a shocking, shocking incident, regardless of what the outcome of an investigation reveals,” he said.

Mehdi Hosseini Matin, Iran’s chargé d’affaires in the UK, said “we deny any link” to the incident.

Police say they have disrupted “a number” of plots to kill or kidnap people in the UK who were considered enemies of the Iranian government. Officers are working with intelligence agencies to disrupt future plots and provide protection to targeted organizations and individuals, police said.

Early last year, Iran International temporarily closed its London operations and moved to studios in Washington, DC, after what it described as an escalation of “state-backed threats from Iran.” The station resumed operations at a new location in London last September.

An Austrian man was convicted in December of attempting to collect information likely to be useful for terrorism after security guards saw him guarding the former headquarters of Iran International. Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, 31, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison.

Alicia Kearns, chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed concern that Britain is still not doing enough to protect opponents of the Iranian government.

“While we do not know the circumstances of this attack, Iran continues to persecute those brave enough to speak out against the regime,” Kearns said on X, formerly Twitter. “However, I remain unconvinced that we and our allies have clear strategies to protect the people at home from them and protect our interests abroad.”

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary David Cameron condemned the in absentia conviction of 10 journalists from the BBC Persian service on charges of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, calling it “completely unacceptable”.

“And also, the last time I met the Iranian foreign secretary, I raised the fact that Iran was paying thugs to try to assassinate Iranian journalists who were providing free, independent reporting for Iranian television in Britain,” Cameron said in the House of Lords. . “In my opinion, they are guilty on both charges.”


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