Nuclear threat from Iran ‘more advanced than ever before’, James Cleverly warns

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has warned that the threat from Iran’s nuclear programme is “more advanced than ever before”.

Addressing an international security conference in Bahrain on Saturday, Mr Cleverly accused the Tehran regime of spreading “bloodshed and destruction” around the world.

He warned that Iranian-supplied weapons are threatening security in the Middle East and beyond, pointing to the Iranian-made attack drones being used by Russia to target Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure as an example of its influence.

“Iranian-supplied weapons threaten the entire region,” the Braintree MP told 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 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, including “ambitions” to kidnap or even kill.