BBC hits out at "targeted attack" on its staff in Iran

A court order appears to have frozen worker's assets

BBC hits out at "targeted attack" on its staff in Iran

A general view of the BBC headquarters in London. Image: Alastair Grant / AP/Press Association Images

British broadcaster the BBC has called on Iranian authorities to reverse an order they say effectively freezes the assets of its staff.

BBC World Service director Francesca Unsworth said: "We deplore what appears to be a targeted attack on BBC Persian staff, former staff and some contributors.

"It is appalling that anyone should suffer legal or financial consequences because of their association with the BBC".

She called on authorities there to reverse the order urgently, and allow BBC staff to "enjoy the same financial rights as their fellow citizens".

The BBC says the order was preventing staff from selling or buying property, cars and other goods.

BBC Persian says it obtained a court order that lists the names of 152 staff, former staff and contributors whose non-liquid assets have been frozen by Iran's judiciary.

The BBC says it was not notified of the court order, and only learnt about the freeze when a relative of a BBC Persian employee tried to sell a property on their behalf.

BBC Persian broadcasts on TV, radio and online and is banned in Iran.

But despite the ban, the BBC says its World Service has an audience of 13 million in Iran.

The corporation says staff and their families routinely face harassment and questioning from Iranian authorities.

The management of BBC Persian described the court order as an attempt to silence impartial journalists.