Stabbed Iranian TV host released from UK hospital

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Pouria Zeraati in hospitalImage source, @pouriazeraati

An Iranian TV host stabbed in London has been released from hospital and has said he is now staying in a safe place.

Iran International presenter Pouria Zeraati, 36, was repeatedly stabbed in an attack by a group outside his home in Wimbledon, south London, on Friday, his channel said.

The London-based station said it had faced “heavy threats” for 18 months.

Counter-terrorism officers are leading the investigation. The Iranian regime has denied any involvement.

Mr Zeraati thanked well-wishers for their “sympathy, kindness and love in the past few days”.

“Fortunately, I am feeling better, recovering and I have been discharged from the hospital,” he posted on X, previously known as Twitter.

“My wife and I are residing at a safe place under the supervision of the Met Police.”

Mr Zeraati claimed the suspects in the attack had purposefully planned it.

Iran International says it provides independent coverage of events in the country, but the regime in Tehran has declared it a terrorist organisation.

The channel’s spokesman told BBC Today programme on Saturday the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had been targeting journalists and their families.

Mr Baillie said: “It was a shocking, shocking incident, whatever the outcome of an investigation reveals.

“But for him as a leading presenter, as with our other presenters and journalists, yes, it is a great shock.

“It’s the first attack of its kind.”

Iran’s charge d’affaires in the UK Mehdi Hosseini Matin said “we deny any link” to the incident.

Mr Zeraati posted a picture on Instagram on Saturday, showing him smiling from his hospital bed.

No arrests have been made, the Metropolitan Police said.

The force said it was not yet able to provide further information about any motive behind the attack, but Mr Zeraati’s occupation coupled with recent threats towards UK-based Iranian journalists meant the investigation was being led by specialist counter-terrorism officers.

In January, the Foreign Office announced sanctions against members of the IRGC’s Unit 840 following an ITV investigation into plans to assassinate two of Iran International’s presenters in the UK.

At the time, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said “the Iranian regime and the criminal gangs who operate on its behalf pose an unacceptable threat to the UK’s security”.

Iran International resumed its operations in London last September after temporarily moving its broadcasting studios to Washington DC in February 2023 because of a “significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran”.

In a separate case in December last year, Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, a Chechen-born Austrian national, was jailed for three-and-a-half years for spying on Iran International before a “planned attack” on UK soil.

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

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

Iran International journalist Pouria Zaraati

Image source, Iran International

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