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Counter-terror probe after Iranian TV journalist stabbed outside London home

An Iranian TV journalist has been stabbed outside his home in London, sparking an investigation led by counter-terrorism police.

Pouria Zeraati is in a stable condition after being attacked with a knife on Friday, Iran International said.

Police and paramedics were called to an address in Wimbledon, south London, at 2.49pm after a man in his 30s suffered an injury to his leg, the Metropolitan Police said.

His condition is not believed to be life-threatening and no arrests have yet been made, the force added.

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.

“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.

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.”