The BBC says it is appealing to the United Nations to protect the human rights of its journalists and their families amid an escalation of persecution and harassment by Iranian authorities.

The British broadcaster said in a statement on March 12 that it filed an “urgent appeal” to UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Asma Jahangir on behalf of BBC Persian staff in October 2017.

It claimed that in 2017, the harassment escalated when Iranian authorities commenced a criminal investigation, alleging BBC Persian Service journalists’ work was a crime against Iran’s national security.

This was accompanied by an asset-freezing injunction citing 152 named individuals, comprising mainly of current and former BBC Persian staff. The injunction prevented journalists and their families from buying or selling their homes and other property in Iran.

“The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored,” BBC Director General Tony Hall said in a statement on March 12.

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