The British government has summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in response to repeated threats made against journalists in the United Kingdom.
Tehran has been known to openly engage in repressing and killing anyone who uses free speech to express dissent against the regime. An age-old trend can be observed in the autocratic regime as evidenced by the issuance of a Fatwa which placed a huge price on Salman Rushdie’s head 33 years ago and the recent forced closure of Iran international TV’s (II TV) London newsroom
The United Kingdom will always stand up to countries that threaten our fundamental values of freedom of expression and the media,”Foreign Secretary James Cleverly
The general manager of II TV, concerned about threats emanating from the Iranian regime remarked in a statement, “I cannot believe it has come to this.”
He expressed astonishment at being forced to relocate because a foreign state has put the British people in such grave danger on British territory. He recognised the threat to be directed to the entire British population, and not just to the TV station.
Commending the effort of the journalists, he applauded them for working tirelessly to provide unfiltered, unbiased news that Iran’s 85 million citizens and its diaspora deserve.
He added “The United Kingdom has long placed high importance on sovereignty, security, and free expression, all of which are under attack by this. These cowardly threats will not silence us. We’ll keep on broadcasting.”
Iran‘s charge d’affaires has been called in once a month since October of last year to discuss a variety of human rights issues, including alleged threats made by Tehran’s security agents to journalists in the United Kingdom in November.
Tom Tugendhat, the security minister, denounced “this terrible invasion of sovereignty” and declared that eight members of the Tehran government had received further sanctions on Monday, adding to the existing 300.
Iran Rewards Rushdie Attacker
On Tuesday in another reflection of Tehran’s tryst against free speech, an Iranian charity via its Telegram channel, lauded the individual who attacked novelist Salman Rushdie last year, seriously injuring him, and announced that it will reward him with 1,000 square metres of agricultural land.
Following the assault in August,2022 on the stage of a literary event staged near Lake Erie,New York by a 24-year-old Shi’ite Muslim American from New Jersey, the novelist, 75, lost an eye and his one hand has been rendered useless as well.
We heartily commend the daring action of the young American who made Muslims happy by blinding one of Rushdie’s eyes and crippling one of his hands.Mohammad Esmail Zarei, secretary of the Foundation to Execute Imam Khomeini’s Fatwas
Approximately 1,000 square metres of agricultural land will be donated to the person “to honour this daring gesture,” Zarei continued.
“Rushdie is now nothing more than a walking dead.”
33 years before the incident, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Tehran at the time, called on Muslims to assassinate the author in a fatwa after his book “The Satanic Verses” was released. Several Muslims considered the book’s references to the Prophet Muhammad to be disrespectful.
Born in India’s Kashmir the author, who spent nine years hiding under the protection of the British police, has lived with a price on his head. The multimillion-dollar price on his head kept rising, and the fatwa was never withdrawn even as Iran’s pro-reform administration under President Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from it in the late 1990s.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini’s successor, was banned from Twitter in 2019 for declaring that the fatwa against Salman was “irrevocable.”
The suspect in the assault on the novelist has entered a not-guilty plea to counts of assault and second-degree attempted murder.