IRGC praises ‘expulsion’ of critical media from London - analysis

The IRGC has tried to threaten media that is critical of Iran and Tehran apparently sees this as an achievement, even amid Iran’s other setbacks.

 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami speaks during a parliament meeting in Tehran, Iran, January 22, 2023. (photo credit: Iranian Parliament website/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami speaks during a parliament meeting in Tehran, Iran, January 22, 2023.
(photo credit: Iranian Parliament website/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS)

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami praised reports that Iran International TV, a media organization, had moved operations from London to the US.

The IRGC has tried to threaten media that is critical of Iran and Tehran apparently sees this as an achievement, even amid Iran’s other setbacks.

Iran International noted recently its own “announcement by Iran International TV that about shifting studio operations to Washington DC over Islamic Republic’s threats have solicited worldwide reactions. After a significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran and advice from the Metropolitan Police, Iran International TV announced February 18 that it has reluctantly closed its London studios and moved broadcasting to Washington DC.” 

The BBC noted over the weekend that “independent TV network Iran International is suspending its operations in the UK because of threats against its London-based journalists.” Iran has praised this and is seeing it as a success apparently. 

The IRGC head was quoted in pro-regime Tasnim media as saying that “this evil media spreading seditious lies and slander” had left London. The headline of the Iranian pro-regime media bashed the critical media as “agents.” Clearly, this shows how important Iran’s regime thinks Iran International is and also how it is afraid of any critical voices abroad.  

Hossein Salami. (credit: MORTEZA NIKOUBAZI/ REUTERS)Hossein Salami. (credit: MORTEZA NIKOUBAZI/ REUTERS)

According to the IRGC chief, the West is mobilizing against Iran on many fronts. He claimed that the West was involved in a war against “Islam” and claimed that the West had even installed Saddam Hussein back in the 1970s in order to wage war against the Islamic regime in Tehran in the 1980s.

Salami claimed the West uses “blockade and embargo were also part of the enemy's reserves, which brought the entire intelligence and legal system of the enemy and all international institutions and media powers to the stage to win in this field, and it failed again, and now that the enemy has become desperate everywhere, he has joined the arms of oppositions who are not even worth mentioning.” 

This rambling sentence basically means that Iran believes the West first used sanctions and now is working with opposition groups.

Opposition groups in Iran and Tehran's conflicts with the West

Iran has faced six months of protests internally over the killing of a woman by police. In the conspiracy-centric world of the regime, the West is seen as wanting to keep Iran “backward, poor and desperate.” Iran boasts it has been able to overcome this Western attempt and that it has developed its own industries. Iran is also sending drones to Russia and is working increasingly closely with China.

Apparently, Iran is also focusing efforts against dissidents in the West. This includes actual plots and attacks on opposition figures, attempted kidnapping and attempts to infiltrate western countries with IRGC-trained assassins and others. Targeting media is one of the new playing fields. Iran has in the past kidnapped and targeted media figures in Iraq and Lebanon. The goal of Iran is to use these other means to weaken opposition.