Iran freezes assets of key figures with hostile Saudi-funded TV in UK over role in violent riots

Press TV – The Iranian Judiciary has announced “legal and judicial restrictions” on assets of key figures of so-called Iran International, an adversary Saudi-funded TV channel based in the UK, over attempts to destabilize the Islamic Republic through fueling a recent wave of violent riots in the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Judiciary shed light on the destructive role Iran International played in the riots — which broke out in several Iranian cities earlier this month on the back of protests against gasoline rationing — and said Iranian intelligence forces have been closely monitoring the activities of the “Saudi-Zionist” television channel.

The broadcaster was at work to disrupt Iran’s security, fan the flames of riots and organize acts of terror, subversion and secession across the country, the statement added.

It added that “key and influential elements of this hostile channel,” who played a direct role from abroad in the acts of vandalism targeting public and private property during the riots inside Iran, have been subjected to “legal and judicial restrictions regarding their assets.”

A decision by the government in mid-November to ration gasoline prompted some peaceful protests in a number of Iranian cities; however, riotous elements, taking advantage of the circumstances, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting banks and gas stations ablaze among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

There have been reports of fatalities among both security forces and civilians in different locations, but an official tally is not available yet.

The statement further said all hostile Persian-language channels besides Iran International — which have financial and intelligence affiliation with Western countries and some reactionary states in the region — were attempting to worsen the situation in Iran amid the riots by provoking the thugs.

The Iranian Embassy in London has filed a complaint against adversary Persian-language TV channels based in the United Kingdom for biased distorting of the recent events in Iran.

Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad said on Twitter on Friday that the embassy in a formal letter has lodged a complaint with Ofcom against the conduct of hostile Persian-language networks such as BBC Farsi, Iran International and Manoto.

On the website of Ofcom, the British media regulatory office, the licensee of Iran International is registered as Global Media Circulating Limited, a company reportedly owned by a Saudi Arabian national.

Iran has, over the past days, arrested over 100 ringleaders and masterminds of the violent attacks.

Last Friday, Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili said a number of those elements were tied to the notorious US-backed Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terror group, royalists as well as separatists — who were nabbed in the country’s border provinces — besides members of organized groups trained towards staging acts of sabotage.