Press TV, the propaganda arm of the Iranian regime, has had its bank account frozen by NatWest Bank. AFP reports:
The English language channel, which is headquartered in Tehran but also has an office in London, has seen its main trading account at the National Westminster Bank suspended, Britain's Times newspaper reported.
The bank will shortly close the account, the paper reported. A spokesman for the bank declined to tell the paper why it was taking the action.
Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair who works for Press TV and recently converted to Islam, blasted the move as a "politically motivated act," in comments to the paper.
It was "intended to cripple a thriving British company whose programmes and news bulletins shed light on areas of policy which certain agencies would sooner keep in the dark," she said.
Matthew Richardson, Press TV's legal adviser, was cited as saying that NatWest had refused to explain why it had frozen the account. "They're not giving any reason why they've done it," he said.
NatWest might not be explaining their decision but the commercial implications of their association with Press TV are obvious to any intelligent observer. The station has a long track record in producing agitprop for the Iranian state, including the lie that Neda Soltan's murder by the regime was a hoax.
That NatWest would not want to associate itself and its business with propagandists for a murderous theocracy is a welcome development.
Now if only the Co-operative bank would reconsider their provision of services to Viva Palestina...
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated toÂ analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer andÂ broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is aÂ PhD student at King's College, London.Â He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.Â
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