The London bureau head of Iranian global news network Press TV was detained by British MI5 agents on Sunday.
According to Press TV, Mehdi Mirtaleb (photo, above), the Iranian owner of a London-based television production company was taken into custody over the weekend. Judging by the lack of any information or additional media coverage of the incident, it is unknown whether or not he is still in custody.
It is not known what the exact reason for his apprehension is. According the Press TV’s own website news release, British security services moved in following a complaint and possible charges pressed by a UK-based Iranian foreign national and women’s rights activist, Shadi Sadr (photo, left), aged 40, whose own controversial remarks were the subject Press TV commentators’ backlash. Apparently, Sadr has cited comments made in a February 27th article published on Press TV’s website.
Sadr’s statement that the resource-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan should secede from the Islamic Republic of Iran, and “damn Iran” met with fury from a number of Iranian commentators, including accusations that Sadr was ‘a traitor’.
In 2010, Sadr was presented an award by the US Department of State in Washington DC as their ‘2010 Woman of Courage’.
In response to the move by the British intelligence service, Press TV has accused Sadr of working as a British agent, stating that Mirtaleb was arrested “over allegations made by a British secret service agent”.
BRITISH INTEL: MI5 Headquarter in London.
It’s important to point out here that detained owner Mirtaleb doesn’t appear to have any real involvement in the writing or publication of the article in question.
Press TV stated on Sunday:
“In the article, Press TV had pointed to Sadr’s provocative remarks on her Facebook page that read: “Living next to the Karun (river) and the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand) waterway with the country’s oil underneath your feet…Will you not wish to separate from this ‘damn’ Iran.”
The post was widely condemned by the global Iranian community.
“Damn Iran? Is this something written by a neutral person? Is this post meant to support the people of Khuzestan or to please Mrs. Sadr’s new masters?” wrote Shahrzad Bagheri. Her comment was followed by many other comments against Sadr’s anti-Iran remarks.
“You have insulted our dear Iran, Mrs. Sadr! And you have tried to label your opponents as racist! These will not help the people of Khuzestan, nor will they prove anything,” said Mehrdad Bozorg in another comment,
“Right now there are bodies of many Iranian martyrs (of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war) still lying at the bottom of Arvand and this mole is calling the waterway Shatt al-Arab! Saddam Hussein (the hanged Iraqi dictator) must be proud of her,” wrote Arya.
Press TV also interviewed its Newsroom Director Hamid Reza Emadi, who slammed Sadr’s separatist provocations as a “step in the wrong direction that needs to be refuted by every patriotic Iranian.”
“This person (Sadr) is clearly a tool…She must be on the MI6 payroll, otherwise no Iranian in her sound mind would dare to insult her motherland so shamelessly,” he said.
“It is sad to say that Shadi Sadr is a traitor. And, traitors have always been on the wrong side of history,” Emadi added.”
It’s also unknown what section of British law Press TV head Mirtaleb is being held under, but if the government has invoked a section of the Terrorism Act, then the Protection of Freedoms Act of 2012 permanently reduced a pre-charge detention period to a maximum of 14 days.
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