Iran says four terrorists with links to Britain have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a number of assassination plots. The UK government tells Channel 4 News the claims are “baseless”.
Tehran claims four people with links to a suspected terrorist commander in Britain have been arrested for carrying out five killings in western Iran in the last two years.
According to a report posted on Iran’s state-run Press TV website, the country’s Intelligence Ministry claims the four men are linked to the Iranian Kurdish rebel faction known as Komala. The group – who Press TV described as a “terrorist group” – has been accused of launching sporadic attacks for decades in a campaign for Kurdish autonomy.
The report says the arrested men – said to be based in northern Iraq – received orders and were paid by a Komala commander who now resides in the UK.
It added that the suspects, who were named in the report, had received weapons and cash on the Iran-Iraq border to carry out their attacks. It did not say who their victims were.
“Britain has not only carried out secret espionage activities in the country, but also funded and supported certain terrorist groups against the Islamic Republic,” Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said.
The British government today dismissed the claims saying it was “another in a long line of slurs against the United Kingdom”.
“There is a long history of baseless Iranian allegations against the UK,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told Channel 4 News.
“This is just the latest. The UK does not support or encourage terrorist activity in Iran, or anywhere else in the world, and this claim will be seen as what it is: another in a long line of slurs against the United Kingdom from the Government of Iran.”
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Last week the head of MI6, John Sawers, said “intelligence-led operations” were needed to prevent countries such as Iran developing nuclear weapons – a comment interpreted in Tehran as proof that Britain was using subterfuge against the government.
“Stopping nuclear proliferation cannot be addressed purely by conventional diplomacy. We need intelligence-led operations to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” he said in an unprecedented public speech.
The news came on the day Iranians commemorated the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iranian Press TV said thousands of students has gathered outside the embassy waving flags and shouting slogans against the US and Israel.
Fifty-two American hostages were held for 444 days after Islamic students stormed the embassy on 4 November 1979.
Last year US President Barack Obama said the event “helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation.”