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Iran intelligence tried to kidnap or assassinate critics in UK at least 10 times, MI5 says

A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility. - [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]
Iranian flag [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran's intelligence services have made at least ten attempts to kidnap or assassinate figures they deem a threat within the United Kingdom, Britain's domestic intelligence chief has revealed.

According to the Reuters news agency, in a speech at the London headquarters of Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, yesterday, its Director General, Ken McCallum, said that its "aggressive" Iranian counterparts have been attempting plans not only to silence critics at home but also abroad, including in the UK.

"At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime," McCallum revealed, adding that "We have seen at least 10 such potential threats since January alone."

Calling the Iranian intelligence services "a sophisticated adversary" willing to take "reckless action", he said that they sometimes operate using their own staff or groom others to work on their behalf. "At times they will take that action in Western countries, at times they will seek to lure people to other parts of the world including Iran itself".

READ: Iran seeks to designate UK-based Persian media as 'terrorists' amid protests

The intelligence chief's revelations come a week after British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, stated that he had summoned the most senior Iranian diplomat to redress him over Tehran's alleged threats to journalists in the UK, telling him that "we do not tolerate threats to life and intimidation of any kind towards journalists, or any individual, living in the UK."

Iran's intelligence services and security forces have long attempted to extend their reach far outside their own country, with the kidnapping of critics and dissidents in countries such as Turkiye having become a regular phenomenon over the past few years.

With the ongoing protests throughout Iran against the police's alleged role in an Iranian woman's death, Tehran has only grown more determined to crush dissent, blaming western countries and their intelligence services as the main instigators of the unrest. Now, it seems, Iran has been willing to respond a step further by reportedly extending its operations directly into a western nation.

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Europe & RussiaIranMiddle EastNewsUK
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