Iran summons British envoy over "support" for opposition group

Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 16 - Iran on Wednesday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran over alleged support by London for the main opposition group that authorities claim planned bombings in the country.

Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 16 - Iran on Wednesday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran over alleged support by London for the main opposition group that authorities claim planned bombings in the country.

"The Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to express its harsh criticism over backing of his country and some other Western states of the group that wanted to carry out terrorist acts in the country", the official news agency IRNA said.

Iranian state television on Tuesday quoted the Intelligence Ministry as saying that two teams of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), or Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), had been arrested as they were trying to plant bombs in the capital.

The PMOI in a statement on Wednesday denied categorically that its members had been arrested or that they had been attempting to plant bombs.

"These absolutely false claims reflect the clerical regime’s delirium, which is increasingly desperate in confronting the rise in popular protests and the increase in support by the Iranian people for the PMOI. These futile attempts are designed to cover up the regime’s growing crises and deepening internal rifts and reflect its inability to stop the nationwide uprising", it said.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement confirming that its ambassador, Simon Gass, had been summoned. "The Iranians were alleging some involvement by people in the U.K. in an alleged MeK plot in Iran".

In by far the most startling acknowledgment of the opposition group's increasing effectiveness in organising and mobilising anti-government activists and dissenters in the country, Iran's Intelligence Minister, Hojjatoleslam Heydar Moslehi, on Tuesday told reporters: "Since 2004, the domestic headquarters of the Monafeqin [Iran’s derogatory term for PMOI] has decided to organise associations under deceptive identities like defending human rights, advocating citizens’ rights, and supporting political prisoners. Similarly, news outlets like Iran Khabar and Homa news agencies were also set up along these lines. In fact, in the context of the political and social atmosphere of the country, they [the PMOI] implemented an extensive plan meant to revitalise and promote their name and ideology, and as well, recruit forces, gather news and intelligence, organise cells and agent networks and finally attempt to incite street riots and unrest".

The PMOI, Moslehi said, was pursuing its objectives by establishing contact without identifying themselves. "They carry out their operations using people who they refer to as 'white elements'. White elements are those who are not under surveillance [by the regime], people who have not had the experience of being members of the PMOI and instead are active under their legal or natural identities such as human rights activists and scientists, both within and outside the country".

"This method makes it complicated to identify the individuals and track down contacts because some people with reputable images and status have contacts with the elements of the PMOI. They easily establish contacts and subsequently the process of influencing and ultimately recruiting them takes effect just as easily", the Intelligence Minister said.

Moslehi accused the group of "nurturing mistrust" among the people towards the government and politicising cases of public disenchantment.

He accused Britain, France and Sweden of "backing" the group.


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