Foreign Secretary Summons Iranian Diplomat over Continued Threat to UK-based Journalists

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly instructed FCDO officials to summon Iran’s most senior diplomat, due to serious threats against journalists living in the UK
February 21, 2023
  • Iranian Chargé d’Affaires told threats to media freedom will not be tolerated following intimidation of Iran International in the UK
  • separately, new UK sanctions imposed on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members, including the commander of province in which security forces have severely injured and killed children
  • three senior judges also sanctioned for imposing death penalties on protestors in Iran

The Foreign Secretary today instructed Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) officials to summon Iran’s most senior diplomat, due to serious threats against journalists living in the UK. 
It follows the decision at the weekend by Iran International, a London-based TV network, to suspend UK operations as a result of continued threats to its staff by the Iranian regime.

Vijay Rangarajan, Director General for the Middle East, held the meeting with Iranian Chargé d’Affaires Mehdi Hosseini Matin to make clear the UK will not tolerate threats to life and media freedom.

As part of wider efforts to hold the regime to account over its behaviour globally, the UK and international partners have also today imposed further sanctions on 8 senior Iranian figures responsible for repressing their own people.

They include 3 judges who imposed the death penalty against protestors and 5 IRGC commanders.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

"The UK will always stand up to countries who threaten our fundamental values of freedom of expression and the media."

"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."

"As part of wider efforts to hold Iran to account, the UK has today also sanctioned a further 8 individuals responsible for horrific human rights violations in Iran, including the killing of children. We will never allow the regime’s threats to go unchallenged."

The individuals sanctioned today include:

  • Mohammad Taghi Osanloo: an IRGC Ground Forces Commander in West Azerbaijan and Kurdistan where children are among those who have been killed during the protests. Video footage showed that a 10-year-old was severely injured after being shot by IRGC forces on 26 September
  • Mohammad Karami: when referring to peaceful protestors, Karami pledged to  “wreak vengeance on the terrorist groups” while he was an IRGC Ground Forces Commander in Sistan and Baluchestan province where over 80 protestors and bystanders were killed in September 2022
  • Musa Asif Al-Hosseini: issued death penalties to Mohammed Karami and Mohammed Hosseini, who were executed in January 2023 despite trials which reportedly relied on forced confessions
  • Morteza Barati: as part of the ‘Isfahan House case’ in January 2023, he is reported to have sentenced Saleh Mirhashmi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaqoubi Kurdsafli to death. It was reported that Barati did not allow the presence of appointed counsel during the trial and that Kazemi was subjected to torture

Since Mahsa Amini’s death in September 2022, the UK has imposed sanctions on more than 50 Iranian individuals and entities in response to human rights violations by the regime.

These sanctions constitute an asset freeze and UK travel ban on the individuals concerned and send a wider signal on the UK’s commitment to backing condemnation with action.