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Tehran threatens US with legal action for hosting Iran International

Prior to relocating to Washington, the London-based Persian-language TV station had already infuriated Iranian authorities with its around-the-clock coverage of the unrest that has shaken the core of the Islamic Republic.  
Iran international

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani said on Tuesday that his country "reserves the right to legal pursuit" against the United States for hosting the Persian-language TV news network Iran International

"We do strongly advise the US government to be aware of the consequences under international law in hosting a terrorist, violence-promoting, pseudo media outlet," Kanani declared in comments carried by the judiciary-run Mizan news agency.  

The reaction came after the dissident TV network reported last week that it was suspending operations at its main headquarters in London and relocating to its smaller bureau in Washington, DC. Iran International cited advice from the London Metropolitan Police following "a significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran" against its journalists.  

Launched in 2017, the outlet began operations in London before opening a second office in Washington last year. With exiled dissident Iranian journalists shaping the backbone of the staff, its editorial line has from the outset been a thorn in the side of the Islamic Republic. Notably, Iran International has put out extensive 24-hour coverage of the ongoing protest movement that has rocked Iran since mid-September, when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody.  

Iran International's rolling coverage of the bloody state crackdown, its hosting of opposition leaders and pundits on analytical panels and especially its reference to the protests as a "revolutionary uprising" have so unsettled the Iranian authorities that they designated it as a terrorist entity, accusing it of instigating violence for the purpose of regime change. The outlet has denied those charges, arguing that it has been adhering to journalistic standards of integrity and accuracy.  

"Tehran will adopt the necessary measures," said Kanani with regard to the US hosting of the outlet. Kanani suggested that the TV station's claims of security threats were false, describing the relocation as "a puppet show" and "some division of labor among intelligence organizations of certain countries."  

Among other accusations, the Islamic Republic also insists that Iran International is controlled by the Saudi royal family and is thus bound to advance the agenda of the Sunni regional rival of overthrowing the Shiite establishment in Tehran.  


Iran International's halting of its London operations is also being celebrated by the state media and the Islamic Republic's hard-line loyalists. To them, the relocation is a sign that efforts to instigate unrest in Iran have failed. Tasnim News, which is linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, claimed that the UK government was no longer hosting it as its "expiry date" had already arrived.  

Hamshahri Online, run by the Tehran municipality, dismissed the security threats and rejoiced the closure as a "humiliating end." Along the same lines, the ultraconservative Kayhan newspaper argued that Iran International was being left high and dry by Iran's enemies, who were now shifting back by seeking "dialogue" with Tehran.  

Yet the outlet has vowed to maintain its journalistic work with the same vigor and scale in Washington and the closure of the London offices has not uninterrupted the 24-hour broadcast.  

Iran International has long prided itself on access to informed sources and internal files that the Islamic Republic is unhappy have be seen by its public and the outside world.  

In the latest on Tuesday, Iran International said it had obtained confidential correspondence in which Iranian authorities spoke of a looming new wave of unrest that will take a new turn amid intensifying public economic grievances.  

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