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Iran arrests agent of hostile UK-based TV channel on terror blacklist: Media

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has arrested “one of the main agents” of a hostile London-based TV channel calling itself “Iran International,” which Tehran has blacklisted as a terrorist organization due to its role in fueling violent riots in the country, media reports say.

Iranian media outlets reported on Thursday that the agent, identified as Elham Afkari, had been arrested by intelligence forces near a border region while she was trying to flee the country.

Afkari was carrying a large amount of foreign currencies at the time of her arrest, Tasnim news agency said.

Since the outbreak of riots in Iran in mid-September, Afkari had been involved in activities meant to “paint a black picture” of the Islamic establishment in Iran, inciting the youth and young women to join the riots, and stoking fear among the people, according to Tasnim.

Her activities in Iran had long been under watch by Iran’s intelligence services, who established that the detainee had constantly been collaborating with counter-revolutionary agents and had served as “one of the leaders” of the recent riots, the report said.

Having failed to achieve her goals in Iran, the agent planned to meet with a representative of a hostile country in a neighboring state and apply for asylum in another country, Tasnim said.

The report said Afkari was in contact with managers of a number of anti-Iran television networks and figures operating against the Iranian establishment in the past year.

Funded by Saudi Arabia, the so-called Iran International TV channel was founded in London in 2017 as part of a propaganda campaign against the Iranian government.

The television channel has openly been promoting monarchists, the highly-notorious Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terror group, and most significantly, separatist terrorists, in violation of the UK’s own media regulations.

Recently, Tehran designated the channel as a terror organization over its role in fanning the flames of violence during riots in Iran.

Speaking on the sidelines of a government meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad-Mahdi Esmaeili warned that there would be strict punishment for any cooperation with “Iran International.”

He added that the punishment for collaboration with the UK-based network will be in accordance with the country’s law.

A day earlier, Iran’s intelligence minister Esmail Khatib in an interview with the khamenei.ir website published Tuesday that those operating the TV channel have been declare “wanted” by the ministry under his watch.

“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.

Besides “Iran International,” other UK-based Persian-language media outlets, BBC Persian and Manoto, 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, those UK-based Persian-language media outlets have left no stone unturned in distorting the truth.

Amini’s death triggered protests, which were initially peaceful but degenerated shortly into deadly riots across Iran, with involved numerous deadly attacks on police, false-flag killings of civilians, acts of vandalism, and desecration of sanctities.

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