LONDON, Feb 21 (AFP) - The British government on Monday (Feb 20) summoned Iran's top diplomat in London to condemn "serious threats" to the lives of UK-based journalists after a Persian-language TV network was forced to relocate.

Charge d'Affaires Mehdi Hosseini Matin was hauled in "to make clear the UK will not tolerate threats to life and media freedom", British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

The private network Iran International announced Saturday that it had been forced on UK police advice to shut down its London studios, and had switched to 24-hour broadcasting from Washington.

The station has provided extensive coverage of anti-government protests that erupted in Iran five months ago, and said two of its senior journalists received death threats in response to their reporting.

"I am appalled by the Iranian regime's continuing threats to the lives of UK-based journalists and have today summoned its representative to make clear this will not be tolerated," Cleverly added.

"The UK will always stand up to countries who threaten our fundamental values of freedom of expression and the media."

The diplomat, Iran's most senior representative in London in the absence of an ambassador, was directed to meet with the head of the UK foreign ministry's Middle East department.

London's Metropolitan police said Saturday that working with the MI5 spy agency, since the start of 2022, it had foiled 15 plots "to either kidnap or even kill" people seen as "enemies of the (Iranian) regime".