Iranian intelligence services have this year made at least 10 attempts to kidnap or kill British nationals or individuals based in the U.K., the head of Britain's domestic spy agency says.
Tehran has long used violence to silence critics at home, and its "aggressive” intelligence services have now crossed the line to threatening Britain directly, Ken McCallum, director general of the Security Service known as MI5, said on November 16.
“At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or U.K.-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime,” McCallum said in a speech at MI5‘s headquarters in London.
"We have seen at least 10 such potential threats since January alone."
Iranian officials did not immediately comment.
Last week, the U.K. government summoned Tehran’s top diplomat in London over alleged threats by Iranian security forces to journalists in Britain.
The move came after Volant Media, the parent company of London-based, Persian-language news channel Iran International said two of its British-Iranian journalists working in Britain had received "death threats from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”
Also on November 16, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Iran was being increasingly aggressive as Iranians have been taking to the streets across the country for two months to voice anger against the Islamic Republic's clerical leadership.
"I see an increasing aggressiveness from Iran toward us with its unacceptable hostage taking [and] a regional aggressiveness…with extremely aggressive acts in the last few days on Iraqi soil," Macron said at the end of a G20 leaders’ summit in Indonesia.
"I urge Iran to return to calm and a spirit of cooperation. I call it to respect regional stability and also French citizens."
The previous day, Iranian authorities said several alleged French intelligence agents were arrested in relation to the nationwide protests that has rocked the country.
France says seven of its nationals are arbitrarily detained in Iran. It denies the Iranian claims that French intelligence officers have been arrested.
Western countries have repeatedly accused Iran of taking dual and foreign nationals into custody on false charges for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.
Meanwhile, Iran has stepped up attacks on Iraq-based Kurdish groups in September, accusing them of "attacking and infiltrating Iran to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest."
The Iranian regime has also accused its foreign foes of stoking the widespread protests ignited by the September death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody.
Earlier this week, Britain and the EU announced they were imposing sanctions on two Iranian ministers and several senior police and military officials over their alleged roles in the brutal crackdown on protests.