Friday , 3 February 2023

Iran tried to assassinate British residents 10 times this year, MI5 reveals

The Telegraph – Iran has plotted the assassination and kidnapping of at least 10 British residents it accuses of being “enemies of the regime”, the head of MI5 disclosed today.

MI5 Director General, Ken McCallum, gives a speech at Thames House in central London - Yui Mok/PA

MI5 Director General, Ken McCallum, gives a speech at Thames House in central London – Yui Mok/PA© Yui Mok/PA

In his annual speech on the threats facing the UK, Ken McCallum, MI5’s director general, said Iran’s “aggressive intelligence services” had crossed over into launching terrorist attacks on British soi

In a wide ranging assessment, Mr McCallum said Russia’s spy network had been “struck the most significant blow… in recent European history” as a consequence of consolidated international opposition to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said 400 Russian spies had been ejected from European countries since the start of the war and that the UK alone had refused 100 Russian diplomatic visa applications on “national security grounds”.

Mr McCallum said that since the summer when he issued a chilling warning over China’s”game-changing strategic challenge” to the UK, MI5 had seen “yet more concerning activity” that included the “harassment and assault” of Chinese dissidents living in Britain.

Mr McCallum also disclosed that eight “potentially deadly” terrorist plots by both Islamist and right wing extremists had been thwarted in the past 12 months. 

A quarter of MI5’s counter terrorism work now involves investigating and disrupting extreme right wing plots compared to a fifth of its case load a little over a year ago. 

Mr McCallum’s warning over Iran follows the disclosure last week that two Anglo-Iranian journalists working for an independent Persian language television channel, based in the UK, had been targeted for assassination by the Tehran regime.

Mr McCallum said Iran was the “state actor which most frequently crosses into terrorism”. The current wave of protests had prompted the regime to “resort to violence to silence critics,” said Mr McCallum, adding: “Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. 

“At its sharpest this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime.

“We have seen at least ten such potential threats since January alone.”

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