Two videos posted online show members of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s delegation in New York assaulting and threatening a correspondent for the London-based Iran International news channel.
The broadcaster said that the incidents occurred this week outside Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza hotel, near the United Nations’ headquarters where world leaders have converged for the annual General Assembly.
Iran International’s correspondent Kian Amani was capturing footage of members of the Iranian delegation exiting the hotel when an “Iranian official from President Raisi's delegation attacked” him, it said.
The video shared on X, formerly Twitter, shows US security officers pushing the aggressor away from Amani and telling him, “Don’t touch him” and “Get back.”
#BREAKING An Iranian official from President Raisi's delegation attacked Iran International's correspondent, Kian Amani, outside the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza Hotel on Wednesday. Amani was capturing footage of them exiting the hotel. The security team finally… pic.twitter.com/WH65JRb11P— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) September 21, 2023
In another incident filmed outside the same hotel, the head of protocol at Raisi’s office, Reza Naqipour, told Amini, “Why is your hand trembling? You will tremble all your life…You are nothing to us, we have destroyed people bigger than you."
“I really like that your hand is trembling. You’ll all be trembling like this for the rest of your life. All the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran must tremble…we are the main player in the region," Naqipour continued.
Reza Naghipour, le responsable du cabinet de Raïssi menace et intimide le journaliste iranien Kian Amini de @IranIntl sur le sol américain « Pourquoi ta main tremble ? tu vas trembler toute ta vie... tu n’est rien pour nous, nous avons détruit plus grand que toi » pic.twitter.com/s6iaCexyLv— lettres de Teheran (@LettresTeheran) September 21, 2023
Jason Brodsky, policy director at the US non-profit advocacy organization United Against Nuclear Iran, criticized such “unacceptable behavior” and called on the US State Department to “address instances of transnational repression by Iran's regime against the Iranian diaspora” in New York.
“Raisi should not have such a large delegation in the future,” he wrote on X.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is among the world's top oppressors of journalists and free speech.
The incidents in New York came after Intelligence Minister Esmaeil Khatib said that Persian-language media outlets operating outside of Iran are "enemy media" and "will not be safe."
Last year, Iran International announced it had temporarily shifted its broadcast operations to Washington after UK police told it “about the existence of serious and immediate threats to the safety of Iranian journalists” working there.
Who Is Reza Naqipour
Naqipour was selected to become the head of protocol at the presidential office in December 2021, four months after the start of Raisi’s presidency.
The man had been serving as the head of security at the Iranian football federation since August 2019.
Before that, he held the position of deputy security chief at the Municipality of Tehran.
After the news of Naqipour’s appointment at the presidential office broke, a source at the football federation told IranWire, "It was unbelievable because we believed that someone appointed as the head of protocol at the presidential office should at least know one international language, such as English or Arabic, or a language suitable for attending official meetings.”
“Mr. Naqipour couldn't even speak Persian correctly," the source added.