LONDON - Britain's media watchdog said it has fined Iranian news channel Press TV 100,000 pounds ($156,800) for broadcasting an unauthorized interview with an imprisoned Newsweek journalist.

Tensions with Iran are already high after Britain responded to an attack on its embassy in Tehran on Tuesday by shutting down the Iranian embassy in London and expelling its staff.

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Press TV, which broadcasts in English and has an office in London, was punished for failing to say that an interview with Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari in June 2009 was filmed while he was in jail on suspicion of spying.

"It was in this vulnerable, sensitive and intimidating situation that a Press TV journalist in Tehran interviewed and filmed him in circumstances in which it should have been clear to Press TV that he was giving an interview under duress," the Ofcom watchdog said in its ruling.


Bahari was arrested after disputed Iranian elections in June 2009 and held in Tehran's Evin prison until he was freed on bail four months later.

Press TV is a 24-hour news channel owned by the Iranian state, available via satellite around the world and on the Internet.

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