December 3, 2019
Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran has condemned the Islamic Republic’s actions to harass and persecute Iranian journalists working abroad and their relatives living in Iran.
In a tweet on Monday December 2, the U.S. State Department cited Brian Hook as saying, “The Iranian establishment has attacked reporters working at VOA Persian service, Radio Farda, and the BBC. The United States of America condemns harassment of the reporters and their families, while it continues to take decisive steps toward supporting the freedom of expression and the media.”
In recent years, the Islamic Republic’s intelligence organizations have exerted pressure on Iranian journalists working for foreign-based Persian-speaking media to force them to resign from their jobs.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the journalists still in Iran have also been under pressure to force their loved ones to keep away from foreign-based Persian-speaking media.
The pressure has been significantly intensified since the anti-regime demonstrations broke out in mid-November across Iran.
Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced on Saturday November 30, that it considers actions by the London-based Iran International T.V. and its staff as “cooperation with Iran’s foes in terrorist acts.”
“Iran International television channel which has been founded by enormous budget supplied by Israel and received activity license in the U.K., entered the stage with sedition orders, focused on incitement and amplifying crises in different parts of country since the first hours of recent incidents, like what BBC Persian did in 2010 sedition,” the ministry said in an official announcement.
Earlier on November 26, a website linked to the Islamic Republic Judiciary, Mizan, had reported that several “key figures” and “crucial staff” of the Iran International T.V. network were put under legal and judicial restrictions concerning their assets and properties inside Iran.
In 2017, Iran’s Judiciary had also banned more than 150 of the BBC’s Persian Service current and former staff from having transactions inside the country.
Furthermore, several of Radio Farda staff have also experienced a similar asset ban in recent months.
Radio Farda is a subdivision of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), serving millions of audiences with free flow of information and impartial news.
Responding to the latest comments made by the President of RFE/RL, Jamie Fly, a Republican Senator, Ted Cruz (R-TX) noted in a tweet that the Iranian regime is trying to intimidate and silence journalists broadcasting in Persian because they know that simple truth poses one of the greatest threats to their continued rule.
Earlier, Jamie Fly had twitted, “The same Iranian regime that has been killing protesters in the streets is now targeting those brave Iranians @RadioFarda_ @RadioFarda_Eng and at other media outlets who are only trying to bring objective news and information to the Iranian people.”
In a statement on November 26, Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) had condemned pressure and threats against the families of Iranian journalists working abroad. According to RSF, the families of journalists working for media outlets such as Radio Farda, BBC Persian, Voice of America, Iran International, Manoto TV, and the London-based Kayhan Newspaper have been threatened by Iranian security forces.
In its annual press freedom ranking, the Paris-based Reporters Without Frontiers said Iran dropped six places to 170th out of 180 countries and territories.