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Iran’s case in opposition to the BBC over killed teenage lady: What we all know


Iran announced charges against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Wednesday over a report that alleged members of the country’s security forces sexually assaulted and killed a teenage girl.

What happened: Sixteen-year-old Nika Shakarami disappeared in September of 2022 after attending an anti-government demonstration in Tehran. Her disappearance occurred during the nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini — a 22-year-old Kurdish woman — while in police custody. Authorities said Shakarami had committed suicide, but members of her family said that she had died in the custody of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Al-Monitor reported at the time.

Shakarami’s death led to outrage in Iran, and there were protests at Shakarami’s gravesite that October.

On Monday, the BBC published an article alleging that Shakarami was sexually assaulted and killed by three men working for Iran’s security services. The outlet, which is funded by the British public, cited a report it obtained that summarizes an IRGC hearing on Shakarami’s case.

On Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office summoned several journalists for “disseminating false information” about Shakarami. The agency referred to the BBC report as “fabricated and erroneous.”

The agency did not provide details on the journalists who were summoned.

Why it matters: The BBC report and Iran’s reaction demonstrate the continued fallout from the Amini protests. More than 500 protesters had been killed as of September of last year, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights organization, and the Iranian government’s crackdown on the protests and unrest was widely condemned internationally.

The Islamic Republic’s prosecution of those involved in the protests continues to capture international attention. In April, an Iranian court sentenced the rapper Toomaj Salehi to death on the charge of “corruption on earth.” The death sentence is related to Salehi’s music in support of the 2022 protests and was widely condemned on Iranian social media.

The fallout over the BBC report is the latest example of tension between the United Kingdom and Iran. Last month, Iran summoned the British ambassador in Tehran, citing “irresponsible statements” from the British government on the Iranian attack against Israel. Later in April, the United Kingdom announced new sanctions on Iran over the attack.

The two states butted heads over the 2022 protests as well. In October of that year, Iran summoned the British ambassador, citing ”meddlesome statements” on the demonstrations, Agence France-Presse reported at the time.



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