Cleverly accuses Iran of spreading ‘bloodshed and destruction’

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will accuse Iran of spreading “bloodshed and destruction” around the world as he reaffirms Britain’s determination to prevent the regime in Tehran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Addressing an international security conference in Bahrain on Saturday, Mr Cleverly will warn that Iranian-supplied weapons are threatening security in the Middle East and beyond.

He will point to the Iranian-made attacks drone being used by Russia to target Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure as an example of its malign influence.

At the same time, he will say that Iran’s banned nuclear programme is at a “more advanced” stage of development than ever before.

“Iranian-supplied weapons threaten the entire region,” he will say, according to advance extracts of his address to the Manama Dialogue.

“Today, Iran’s nuclear programme is more advanced than ever before, and the regime has resorted to selling Russia the armed drones that are killing civilians in Ukraine.

“As their people demonstrate against decades of oppression, Iran’s rulers are spreading bloodshed and destruction as far away as Kyiv.

MI5 director general Ken McCallum
MI5 director general Ken McCallum said Iranian agents are targeting individuals in the UK (Yui Mok/PA)

“Britain is determined to work alongside our friends to counter the Iranian threat, interdict the smuggling of conventional arms, and prevent the regime from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”

Following his attendance at the conference, Mr Cleverly will travel on to Qatar where he will attend England’s opening World Cup match against Iran.

The encounter comes at a time of heightened tensions with the regime.

Earlier this week, the UK imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Iranian officials linked to the brutal crackdown of the protests which erupted following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained for allegedly failing to follow the country’s Islamic dress code.

Meanwhile the director general of MI5 Ken McCallum has revealed that Iranian intelligence agents have been targeting individuals in the UK who they regard as enemies of the regime.

He said the security service had identified at least 10 such potential threats since January alone, including “ambitions” to kidnap or even kill.