The Iranian Intelligence Ministry released a statement on Tuesday February 19 referring to the “discovery of a media network” that, according to the ministry, is based inside BBC News and is linked to several Iranian reformist websites, such as Jaras and Kaleme.
Iranian media report that the announcement indicates that recently detained journalists have been investigated regarding this matter and four others have allegedly fled.
In the past month, 17 journalists have been arrested by Iranian authorities, and four have been released on bail after interrogations.
The ministry writes: “The intelligence gathered tells of a number of radio and television networks and anti-revolutionary websites and sites connected to the sedition of 2009 with their centre based in the BBC.”
The Iranian establishment refers to the 2009 election protests as sedition.
The announcement names sites such as Jaras, Kaleme, Melli Mazhabi, Norooz, Nedaye sabz azadi, Rooz online, Gozar, Khodnevis and Saham News as well as Deustche Welle, Radio Farda, Voice of America and BBC as part of a network working against the Islamic Republic’s interests.
The ministry claims this network has also infiltrated a number of domestic media, and the authorities are reportedly taking action to address that.
The ministry claims a number of projects attempted by this network are “exposed and burned-out projects under the name of human rights”, which, according to the ministry, are aimed at sullying the face of Islam and the Islamic Republic.