Pouria Zeraati: Stabbed Iran International TV host leaves hospital

An Iranian TV host stabbed in London has been discharged from hospital and says he is now staying in a safe place.

Iran International presenter Pouria Zeraati, 36, was repeatedly stabbed in an attack by a group outside his home in Wimbledon, south London, on Friday afternoon, his channel said.

The London-based station said it had faced "heavy threats" for 18 months.

Counter-terrorism officers are leading the investigation. The Iranian regime has denied any involvement.

Mr Zeraati thanked well-wishers for their "sympathy, kindness and love in the past few days".

"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."

Mr Zeraati claimed the suspects in the attack had purposefully planned it.

A neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, told BBC News an officer had spoken to them and said there were three attackers who ran up the road and were picked up.

Iran International says it provides independent coverage of events in the country, but the regime in Tehran has declared it a terrorist organisation.

The channel's spokesman told BBC Today programme on Saturday the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had been targeting journalists and their families.

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

"But for him as a leading presenter, as with our other presenters and journalists, yes, it is a great shock.

"It's the first attack of its kind."

Iran's charge d'affaires in the UK, Mehdi Hosseini Matin, said "we deny any link" to the incident.

Mr Zeraati posted a picture on Instagram on Saturday, showing him smiling from his hospital bed.

No arrests have been made, the Metropolitan Police said.

The force said it was not yet able to provide further information about any motive behind the attack, but Mr Zeraati's occupation coupled with recent threats towards UK-based Iranian journalists meant the investigation was being led by specialist counter-terrorism officers.

Cdr Dominic Murphy, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "I appreciate the concern this incident has caused, for local people as well as for those in similar lines of work and from Iranian communities."

In January, the Foreign Office announced sanctions against members of the IRGC's Unit 840 following an ITV investigation into plans to assassinate two of Iran International's presenters in the UK.

At the time, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said "the Iranian regime and the criminal gangs who operate on its behalf pose an unacceptable threat to the UK's security".

Iran International resumed its operations in London last September after temporarily moving its broadcasting studios to Washington DC in February 2023 because of a "significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran".

In a separate case in December last year, Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, a Chechen-born Austrian national, was jailed for three-and-a-half years for spying on Iran International before a "planned attack" on UK soil.

The Met Police said last year that since the start of 2020, 15 plots to either kidnap or kill UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime had been foiled.

Nearly 18 months ago, Iran International became one of the main providers of news during a wave of anti-government protests in Iran.