Iran’s minister of culture and Islamic guidance on Wednesday warned that there would be strict punishment for any cooperation with ‘Iran International’, a UK-based terrorist organization masquerading as a media network.
Speaking on the sidelines of a government meeting in Tehran, Mohammad-Mahdi Esmaeili said the punishment for collaboration with the UK-based network will be in accordance with the country’s law.
His remarks came a day after Iran’s intelligence ministry designated the UK-based, Saudi-funded Persian-language network as a "terrorist organization" responsible for instigating deadly riots in Iran.
Iran's intelligence minister Esmail Khatib in an interview with Khamenei.ir website published Tuesday said Iran International has been designated as a "terrorist organization" by Iran's security agencies and those operating it have been declared "wanted" by the intelligence ministry.
“From now on, any kind of connection with this terrorist organization will be considered as entering the terrorist domain and threatening the country’s national security,” he said.
The minister further emphasized that "any sort of communication" with the network will be considered as "involvement in terrorist activities and a threat to national security."
Esmaeili echoed the intelligence minister, saying Tehran does not consider the UK-based Persian media outlets as news media but “terrorist media”, as reflected in their coverage of recent deadly riots in Iran.
The “pseudo media”, he noted, has sought “to foment insecurity and division” in the country.
The UK-based Persian-language media outlets, including Iran International, BBC Persian and Manoto and others, have been aggressively fanning propaganda and misinformation about Iran since the 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini died in police custody in mid-September.
Although police categorically stated that her death was due to natural causes, which was even attested by the forensic report, these UK-based Persian language media outlets have left no stone unturned in spinning the narrative and distorting the truth.
Amini’s death triggered deadly riots across Iran, with numerous attacks on policemen and ordinary civilians by armed rioters, which were instigated by these media outlets and the Western and Arab regimes bankrolling them.
Last month, Iran’s top human rights official called for the designation of these Persian-language outlets, including Iran International, as terrorist organizations.
Kazem Gharibabadi, the deputy chief of the Iranian judiciary and secretary of the High Council for Human Rights, said the Iranian government will take legal measures against these so-called media outlets for "directing and inciting riots in Iran through the promotion of terrorist acts”.
Before him, the top commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) General Hossein Salami made a thumping warning to the Saudi regime over Iran International’s venomous and distorted coverage of riots and mass vandalism in Iran.
He accused the regime in Riyadh of "provoking the Iranian youth" and warned of consequences if the regime does not stop bankrolling the terrorist network.
Iran’s foreign ministry has since September summoned ambassadors of Britain, Germany, and Norway among other Western countries to protest against “interference” in Iran’s internal affairs.
In the first summon issued to the British ambassador in Tehran on September 25, Iran’s foreign ministry protested what it termed the role of UK-based Persian-language media in "instigating riots" and "creating a hostile environment" in Iran.
Iran's intelligence minister in his remarks on Tuesday night criticized Israel, Britain, and Saudi Arabia for their role in the "implementation, propaganda and financing" of deadly riots in Iran.
“We will never support terrorist and destabilizing acts in other countries as the UK does, but we also will not be committed to preventing the occurrence of insecurity in such countries,” he said, warning that the UK will "pay for its anti-Iran actions."
He also said the recent mass rally in Berlin was financially supported by Saudi Arabia.