Iran plotting to kill British Jews, minister confirms after JC exclusive

Regime works with organised crime to threaten dissidents, Tom Tugendhat told parliament


Security minister Tom Tugendhat has confirmed the JC's exclusive this afternoon by revealing that the Iranian government spied on Jews in Britain and plotted to kill them.

While delivering an urgent statement on threats to journalists in Britain, Tom Tugendhat told parliament: “Between 2020 and 2022, Iran tried to collect intelligence on UK-based Israeli and Jewish individuals. 

“We believe this information was a preparation for future lethal operations.”

The Iranian regime has previously “mapped” the Jewish diaspora to identify high-profile figures to target for an assassination campaign, the JC revealed last week. 

Catherine Perez-Shakdam, a Jewish woman who met Ayatollah Khamenei, said the plans were designed to ensure “the diaspora would have a very nasty surprise” in the event of an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities.

According to Perez-Shakdam, at a closed event in Iran, she was told about a plan to identify, “all the prominent NGOs run by Jews, who was doing what in each business sector, the important rabbis.” 

She told the JC: “They wanted to figure out their influence and where they lived with their families in order to target them.” 

Mr Tugendhat’s explosive revelation follows news that a Persian-language news channel was forced to suspend broadcasting in the UK following threats to its staff by the Iranian regime. 

Despite receiving armed police protection, the staff of Iran International was advised by the Metropolitan Police that they ought to relocate to ensure their safety.

Mr Tugendhat claimed: “This is a persistent threat. This is not carried out by rogue elements, but is a conscious strategy of the Iranian regime.”

The former foreign affairs select committee chair also said: “We know that the Iranian intelligence services work with organised criminal gangs, and I can assure the house and the public that we will go after anyone working with them.”

Earlier today, Foreign Office officials summoned Iran’s most senior diplomat in the UK to tell him the British government would not tolerate threats to the media.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: "The UK will always stand up to countries who threaten our fundamental values of freedom of expression and the media. 

“I am appalled by the Iranian regime’s continuing threats to the lives of UK-based journalists and have today summoned its representative to make clear this will not be tolerated.”

Speaking in Parliament to denounce the Iranian regime, Mr Tugendhat said: “They have murdered their own people and made hostages of others. 

“The protests that began in 2022 show that it does not have the support of the Iranian people.

“In recent months the Iranian regime has publicly called for the capture or killing of those holding them to account… 

“That includes very real and specific threats to UK-based journalists working for Iran International, a prominent Persian language news channel, and their families… the Home Secretary and I absolutely condemn this outrageous violation of our sovereignty.”

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