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British spy chief: Iran has tried 10 times to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals

Reuters · 11/16/2022 08:00
British spy chief: Iran has tried 10 times to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals


- Iran's intelligence services have tried on at least 10 occasions to kidnap or even kill British or individuals based in the United Kingdom regarded by Tehran as a threat, the head of Britain's domestic spy agency said on Wednesday.

Ken McCallum, Director General of the Security Service known as MI5, said while at home Tehran was using violence to silence critics, its "aggressive intelligence services" were also projecting a threat to Britain directly.

"At its sharpest this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime," McCallum said in a speech at MI5's headquarters.

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

The British spy chief's words echo similar remarks earlier on Wednesday from French President Emmanuel Macron that Iran was being increasingly aggressive towards France by detaining its citizens.

For its part, Iran has accused Western foes of stoking protests ignited by the death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 in the custody of the morality police.

"The current wave of protests in Iran is asking fundamental questions of the totalitarian regime," McCallum said. "This could signal profound change, but the trajectory is uncertain."


(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Kate Holton)

((michael.holden@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 3213; Reuters Messaging: michael.holden.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.))