Iran summons British envoy to protest 'accusations'

AFP , Tuesday 30 Jan 2024

Iran on Tuesday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran to protest against London's "accusations" against the Islamic Republic, state media reported.

Simon Shercliff.
British ambassador to Iran, Simon Shercliff. Photo courtesy of his twitter account @SimonShercliff

 

"Following the continuation of the British regime's accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Simon Shercliff, the British ambassador in Tehran, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs... and was informed of our country's strong protest", the IRNA state news agency said.

The statement did not elaborate on the accusations, but it comes after Britain accused Iran-aligned groups of being behind a deadly attack on US troops in Jordan and, along with the United States, imposed sanctions on a network that they allege targets Iranian dissidents.

Iran, however, denied any links to the drone strike in Jordan that killed three US military personnel and said it was not seeking an "expansion" of conflict in the Middle East.

The killing of three American troops on Sunday in a strike in Jordan marked the first US military losses in the region since the Israeli war on Gaza began.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron condemned the "attacks by Iran-aligned militia groups against US forces" while urging "Iran to de-escalate in the region".

US President Joe Biden said "radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq" were behind the strike on the frontier base in Jordan's northeast.

Iran slammed what it described as "baseless accusations" and said they were a "projection" and part of a "conspiracy of those who see their interests in dragging America's foot into a new battle".

Iran has previously said it sees it as a "duty" to support "resistance groups" in the region but insists they are "independent" in decision and action.

Sunday's strike also left 34 personnel wounded, eight of whom required evacuation, according to the US Central Command.

US troops operate at the base known as Tower 22 near Jordan's border with Iraq and Syria as part of an international coalition against the Islamic State group.

Tensions have surged in the Middle East since 7 October as Israel has launched a relentless military offensive on the Gaza Strip that has killed at least 26,751 people, 70% of them women and children, with another  65,636 people wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The United States and Britain also on Monday announced a new wave of sanctions against Tehran over its alleged links with a network that targets Iranian dissidents in several countries.

London and Washington say the network, known as Zindashti's network by the US Treasury, is run "at the behest of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security."

Britain said it would "sanction seven individuals and one organization, including senior Iranian officials and members of organized criminal gangs who collaborate with the regime."

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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