Pouria Zeraati: Iran International TV host stabbed outside London home

A presenter for a London-based Iranian TV news channel has been repeatedly stabbed outside his home in the city, his channel has said.

Iran International, which reported extensively in 2022 on anti-government protests in Iran, said Pouria Zeraati, 36, was attacked by a group.

The Metropolitan Police said specialist counter-terrorism officers were leading an investigation into the stabbing.

The victim was stable in hospital, the force added.

Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met's counter-terrorism command unit, said officers were keeping an open mind as to any motivation behind the attack.

The Met said counter-terrorism officers had been assigned due to "the victim's occupation as a journalist at a Persian-language media organisation based in the UK".

It added this was "coupled with the fact that there has been a number of threats directed towards this group of journalists".

Mr Murphy said extra patrols were being sent to the area of the attack in south London and "other sites around London" as a precaution.

No arrests have been made.

Nearly 18 months ago, Iran International became one of the main providers of news during the wave of anti-government protests in Iran.

In November 2022 two British-Iranian journalists from the channel were warned by police of a possible risk to their lives.

An armed police presence was stationed near the channel's studios, and concrete barriers were placed outside the building.

At the same time in Tehran, Iran's minister of intelligence Ismail Khatib announced Iran International had been declared a terrorist organisation by his regime.

Iran International were accused by the government of inciting riots protesting the regime.

Then, in February 2023, Iran International TV temporarily shut down operations in London and moved its broadcasting studios to Washington DC.

The Persian-language TV channel said the decision was due to a "significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran".

Operations resumed at a new location in London last September.

In December last year, Austrian national Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, 31, was jailed for "attempting to collect or make a record containing information useful to a terrorist".

The Met Police said he made a video in February 2023 showing the outside and security arrangements of a Chiswick Business Park building where Iran International was based.

According to the Met Police, since the start of 2022, 15 plots had been foiled to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime.

Reacting to Friday's latest incident, Tory MP Alicia Kearns, the chairwoman of the powerful Foreign Affairs Select Committee, described the stabbing as "deeply upsetting".

"Whilst we don't know the circumstances of this attack, Iran continues to hunt down those brave enough to speak out against the regime," she said on Twitter/X.

"Yet I remain unconvinced that we and our allies have clear strategies to protect people in our countries from them, and protect our interests abroad."

Earlier this year, Lord Cameron announced sanctions on a number of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders after they were "exposed in an ITV investigation into plots to assassinate two television presenters from news channel Iran International on UK soil".

He said the package, including the freezing of assets and UK travel bans, exposed "the roles of the Iranian officials and gangs involved in activity aimed to undermine, silence and disrupt the democratic freedoms we value in the UK".