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BBC Resorts to United Nations to Protect its Journalists in Iran

13 March 2018

BBC journalists will address the United Nations human rights council in Geneva this week to plead for protection from harassment by the Iranian authorities.

In 2017 Iranian authorities commenced a criminal investigation, alleging BBC Persian Service journalists' work was a crime against Iran's national security.

"This is not just about the BBC - we are not the only media organisation to have been harassed or forced to compromise when dealing with Iran", said Hall.

"The Iranian authorities appear to regard any affiliation with the BBC as a crime", said David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, and Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, in a joint statement.

"Threatening journalists and their families is nothing short of thuggery and the global community should condemn it as such", he added.

The decision by the broadcaster comes after an Iranian court past year froze the assets of more than 150 people associated with its Persian service.

It's unclear whether Larijani is aware of the fact that BBC Persian was launched in 2009.

The BBC said its Persian satellite television service journalists in London and their families in Iran have been "systematically targeted" since it launched in 2009. The BBC says the service reaches some 18 million people weekly. Staff members have also been the subjects of smear campaigns and their personal online accounts have been hacked.

Persian (BBC Farsi) has been banned from Iran since 2010 on the basis of allegations that it was acting against the country's national interest.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary's Human Rights Committee, dismissed allegations against Iran by both the United Nations and others as "racist" and "dictated in Washington, France and London and other places".

BBC staff will address the UN Human Right Council on Monday 12 March.

In October 2017, the UN's Special Procedure mandate holders issued a statement calling on Iran "to cease all legal action against the staff and their families, and to cease the use of repressive legislation against independent journalism".

On 12 March, a report will be tabled at the United Nations security council from the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir, which contains evidence from journalists describing how they and their families have been targetted by the Iranian authorities.

CHRI has called on governments around the world to engage Iranian officials on their country's deteriorating human rights record.

Iran has often come under intense global criticism for its human rights violations.

BBC Resorts to United Nations to Protect its Journalists in Iran