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'We won't tolerate Iran's threats': David Cameron warns Tehran as new round of sanctions imposed
29 January 2024, 18:28
Iran has been warned Britain will "not tolerate" threats to the UK as it announced a fresh round of sanctions against it.
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Officials accused of being behind a threat to kill two news presenters in London were hit with asset freezes along with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds unit that has allegedly targeted people in Britain.
Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said: "The Iranian regime and the criminal gangs who operate on its behalf pose an unacceptable threat to the UK's security.
"Today's package exposes the roles of the Iranian officials and gangs involved in activity aimed to undermine, silence and disrupt the democratic freedoms we value in the UK.
"The UK and US have sent a clear message - we will not tolerate this threat."
Four other Iran-linked individuals, including two Turkish nationals, were also hit with sanctions after being accused of killing an Iranian dissident in Istanbul.
The Foreign Office said an Iranian who is head of an international drug and trafficking cartel was also targeted for allegedly planning or conducting overseas attacks.
We will not tolerate threats to our national security from the Iranian regime and the criminal gangs who operate on its behalf.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 29, 2024
Today’s sanctions expose those who try to undermine our democratic freedoms.https://t.co/I6OWzqLGqD
The sanctions come following an investigation into plots to assassinate two television presenters from the Iran International TV channel in the UK, the Foreign Office said.
At least 15 threats are said to have been made since January 2022.
The package has been co-ordinated with the US amid heightening tensions in the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war started on October 7.
It comes after a drone attack killed three American soldiers in Jordan over the weekend, with Britain and the White House blaming Iran-linked militias of being behind the strike.
That's led to fears that a wider conflict could break out, with the US expected to hit back Iranian proxies in the Middle East.
They are already repeatedly battering one such group, the Houthis, after they started firing missiles at international shipping.
The UK joined some of those bombings. The Houthis started their attacks by claiming they were supporting Gaza, aiming to establish some kind of blockade.
Their attacks have instead threatened innocent lives at sea and led to countries across the world condemning their attack and backing the US and UK action against them.
And this is all playing out while attention turns to whether a possible return to the White House for Donald Trump would see the US draw down its support for Ukraine - possibly giving another foe of the West a huge victory.
Rishi Sunak said that he was "concerned" about Saturday's deadly attack in the Middle East.
"We are concerned and would urge Iran to continue to de-escalate tensions in the region," the PM said.
"We absolutely condemn what has happened over the past couple of days.
"My thoughts are with all of those impacted, those who lost their lives, their families and those that are injured.
"We stand resolutely with our allies to bring stability and peace to the region. And that's what we'll continue to work towards."