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Threat-hit Iran International TV resumes London broadcasts

Tehran has also seen protests denouncing media such as Iran International TV and BBC Persian
— London (AFP)

Private network Iran International TV said Monday that it was broadcasting again from London having shut down its studios earlier this year due to threats it blamed on Tehran.

The station had been giving extensive coverage to anti-government demonstrations that erupted in Iran last year, and said two of its senior journalists received death threats in response to their reporting.

Acting upon police advice, it closed its base in the UK capital in February, but said in a statement on Monday that "Iran International TV has begun broadcasting from its new London studios".

"This resumption marks a return to London for Iran's most-watched news channel after broadcasting was temporarily moved to the United States earlier this year because of the credible, state-sponsored threats against its staff," it added.

London's Metropolitan Police last year installed concrete barriers outside the old studios in Chiswick, west London, to prevent any attack by vehicle and warned of "imminent and credible threats" to the lives of the channel's journalists.

The decision to close came after the arrest of Austrian national Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, who was charged with terror offences having been seen photographing and filming the exterior of the studios.

The Persian-language network's general manager Mahmood Enayat celebrated Monday's news, saying "it is great to be back broadcasting from London".

"Britain is the home of free speech. Resuming our broadcast from here is a statement that we will not be deterred from serving the Iranian people with independent, uncensored news," he added.

The channel will now broadcast from a secure site in north London, supported "by the guidance and expertise of the Metropolitan Police."

Iran International TV employed around 100 journalists in London while a similar number work for the station in Washington, serving a global audience of 30-40 million Farsi speakers.

It denies government claims that it is in league with exiled Iranian opposition groups.