Iran summons British envoy over ‘threats’ allegations

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Iran has called in Britain’s envoy in Tehran to protest after London alleged Tehran had made “threats” to the lives of UK-based journalists, state media reported on Wednesday.

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The tit-for-tat move came Tuesday as Iran’s charge d’affaires in London Mehdi Hosseini Matin was hauled in to hear a British protest over the alleged threats that forced Persian-language TV network Iran International to announce last week that it was relocating from London.

“Following the continued baseless accusations from England against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mrs Isabelle Marsh, temporary chargee d’affaires of that country’s embassy in Tehran, was summoned to the foreign ministry on Tuesday,” the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran International announced on Saturday that it had been forced on UK police advice to shut down its London TV studios, and had switched to 24-hour broadcasting from Washington.

The station has provided extensive coverage of anti-government protests that erupted in Iran five months ago, and said two of its senior journalists received death threats in response to their reporting.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Tuesday: “I am appalled by the Iranian regime’s continuing threats to the lives of UK-based journalists and have today summoned its representative to make clear this will not be tolerated.”

Iran’s foreign ministry said Cleverly’s comments were a continuation of Britain’s “Iranophobic policy” and called for an “end to this hostile approach.”

Iran’s relations with Britain were already at a low ebb following London’s response to the protests that erupted in September over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been accused of breaching Iran’s dress code for women.

Ties took a further blow last month when Iran executed dual national Alireza Akbari after convicting him of spying for Britain.

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