Home Uncategorized Iran TV journalist was bearhugged by one attacker as another started stabbing...

Iran TV journalist was bearhugged by one attacker as another started stabbing him outside his London home – after Tehran was accused of murder plot against two of his colleagues and man was jailed for spying on his network’s Chiswick HQ

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Counter terror police investigating an attack on a prominent Iranian dissident journalist claim he was targeted by a two-man team who escaped in a waiting car in south London.

Pouria Zeraati, who works for the Iran International TV channel, has been repeatedly targeted by Tehran as the media organisation is openly critical of the government’s regime. 

It is believed either agents working directly for the Iranian government or a criminal gang hired by Tehran targeted Zeraati, who hosts a high-profile TV show in London. 

According to The Times, initial indications suggest one of the gang asked Zeraati for cash and then held him in a bear hug while the second operative approached and stabbed the opposition journalist in the leg at 2.49pm yesterday. 

The 36-year-old journalist, who presents the Last Word show on the channel, was rushed to hospital where he is in a stable condition. 

Pouria Zeraati, right, works for the Iran International TV channel which is opposed to the Tehran regime

Pouria Zeraati, right, works for the Iran International TV channel which is opposed to the Tehran regime

He was targeted as he left his house in Wimbledon, south west London yesterday afternoon

He was targeted as he left his house in Wimbledon, south west London yesterday afternoon

The two suspects fled in a waiting car. 

Earlier this year, Iranian officials plotted to kill two of Zeraati’s colleagues, while Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev was jailed or spying on journalists at Iran International on behalf of Tehran.  

The Met said in a statement the motivation for the attack was not yet clear, his occupation coupled with recent threats towards UK-based Iranian journalists meant the probe was being led by specialist counter-terrorism officers.

Commander Dominic Murphy, Head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: ‘While we are keeping an open mind, given the occupation of the victim and our publicised concerns about the threat to employees of that organisation, the investigation is being led by the Counter Terrorism Command.

‘I must stress that, at this early stage of our investigation, we do not know the reason why this victim was attacked and there could be a number of explanations for this.

‘While we continue to assess the circumstances of this incident, detectives are following a number of lines of inquiry and our priority at this time is to try and identify whoever was behind this attack and to arrest them.

Iran had previously planned to murder Sima Sabet, pictured who also works for the dissident TV station

Iran had previously planned to murder Sima Sabet, pictured who also works for the dissident TV station

Fellow reporter Fardad Farahzad had previously been targeted by Tehran

Fellow reporter Fardad Farahzad had previously been targeted by Tehran

‘I appreciate the wider concern this incident may cause – particularly amongst others in similar lines of work, and those from Iranian communities.

‘We continue to work closely with the victim’s organisation and as a precaution we’ll have additional patrols in the Wimbledon area as well as other sites around London to provide reassurance over the coming days to those affected and concerned.

‘Finally, I would urge anyone in the Wimbledon area who may have seen anything or anyone acting suspiciously today to get in touch with us.’

Since 2022, a number of plots to either kidnap or kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime have been disrupted by police, it is understood.

Mohammed Ansari and Muhammed Abd al-Razek Kanafani, who are members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were sanctioned over threats to kill two of Mr Zeraati’s colleagues based at Iran International’s studio in Chiswick, West London. 

Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, pictured at Gatwick Airport, had been spying on journalists at Iran International on behalf of Tehran

Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, pictured at Gatwick Airport, had been spying on journalists at Iran International on behalf of Tehran

Dovataev, 31, was jailed in December 2023 having been convicted at the Old Bailey

Dovataev, 31, was jailed in December 2023 having been convicted at the Old Bailey

The pair wanted to arranged the assassinations of journalists Fardad Farahzad and Sima Sabet to death. 

An earlier iteration of the plan involved a car bomb

The Iranian agents wanted a people smuggler to carry out the assassinations.  

Anyone with information should contact police by calling 0800 789 321.

Iran International English posted on X, formerly Twitter, saying: ‘Iran International’s journalist @pouriazeraati has been attacked with a knife outside his house in London.

‘He has sustained injuries but is in a stable condition. The matter is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

‘The attack comes after the Iranian regime’s 2022 plot to kill two @IranIntl television anchors @Sima-Sabet and @FardadFarahzad.’

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, called the incident a ‘cowardly attack’ and ‘deeply shocking’.

She said: ‘Our thoughts are with him, his family and all of his colleagues at Iran International. We hope he makes a swift recovery.

‘It is too early to know whether this violent assault is connected to the escalating intimidation and harassment by Iran, including the plot to assassinate journalists Fardad Farahzad and Sima Sabet in 2022.

‘However, this brutal stabbing will inevitably raise fears amongst the many journalists targeted at Iran International and the BBC Persian Service that they are not safe at home or going about their work.’

Ms Stanistreet added: ‘The NUJ sends its collective best wishes to Pouria and hopes he has a swift and full recovery.

‘We will continue to liaise with the Metropolitan Police and the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, as part of our wider work to stamp out the harassment and targeting of journalists.’

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron condemned Iran’s reported conviction of BBC Persian journalists, calling it ‘unacceptable’.

He said: ‘Documents published online suggest that 10 BBC Persian staff have been tried and convicted in Iran in absentia of propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

‘I think this is completely unacceptable behaviour. We do raise these issues with our Iranian counterparts.

‘And also, when I last met the Iranian foreign minister, I raised the case of the fact that Iran was paying thugs to try and murder Iranian journalists providing free and independent information for Iran TV in Britain.

‘On both counts, in my view, they are guilty.’

Ms Stanistreet added: ‘The systematic targeting of journalists, simply for doing their jobs, has to stop. The international community needs to up the pressure on Iran and the UN needs to hold Iran accountable for its actions.’



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