Suspects linked to stabbing of Iranian journalist in London 'left the UK'

Suspects linked to stabbing of Iranian journalist in London 'left the UK'
Iran International's Pouria Zeraati said he was recovering at 'a safe place' after being discharged from hospital and treated for stab wounds to his leg.
3 min read
The Iranian embassy in London has denied any involvement in the assault on journalist Pouria Zeraati [Getty]

British police on Tuesday said three suspects believed to be involved in the stabbing of an Iranian journalist working for a Farsi-language media outlet in London left the country within hours of the attack.

UK-based Iranian journalist Pouria Zeraati from broadcaster Iran International was stabbed outside his home in London last week, in what has been regarded as the latest state-sponsored attempt to intimidate Iranian nationals living outside the country.

Zeraati hosts a television show which is critical of the Iran's government, heading by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Iran International was established in 2017 and has been allegedly threatened by Iranian state sources in the past, particularly since the since the outbreak of mass anti-government protests in Iran in 2022. 

It had only just moved back to London after temporarily shifting operations to Washington DC over safety concerns.

There is no indication yet that the stabbing of Zeraati was linked to apparent state-backed attempts to silence critics.

London's Metropolitan Police said: "Detectives have established the victim was approached by two men in a residential street and attacked. The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle driven by a third male".

Police said that after abandoning the vehicle, the suspects travelled directly to Heathrow Airport and left the UK a few hours after the attack.

Commander Dominic Murphy, Head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command said that his team is "working with international partners to establish further details".

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Police said it remained unclear why the victim was attacked and officers are "keeping an open mind as to any motivation behind this."

The incident was being investigated by counter-terrorism detectives because the victim was a journalist at a Persian-language media organisation based in UK, and previous threats had been directed towards its media workers, the Met said.

Zeraati said on Monday that he was recovering at "a safe place" after being discharged from hospital and treated for stab wounds to his leg.

"Fortunately, I am feeling better, recovering, and I have been discharged from the hospital," he posted on X.

"My wife and I are residing at a safe place under the supervision of the Met police."

Iran International is one of the most popular Farsi-language news channels for the Iranian diaspora despite being banned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Crops.

Adam Baillie, spokesperson for Iran International, said the attack on Zeraati was "shocking" and the first of its kind.

"It was a shocking, shocking incident, whatever the outcome of an investigation reveals," he said.

In January, the UK imposed sanctions, in coordination with the United States, on Iranian officials it said were involved in threats to kill journalists on British soil, and others it said were part of international criminal gangs linked to Iran.

An investigation by ITV News last December revealed a complex assassination plot by Iranian spies to kill two journalists from Iran International, targeting the news studio with a car bomb.