Iran summons British ambassador as tensions soar

Iran summoned the British ambassador to Tehran to protest against the “baseless accusations” and sanctions by London.

“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 on Tuesday.

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While the statement did not explain the accusation against the United Kingdom, it said the director general of Western Europe at the Iranian foreign ministry, Majid Nili Ahmadabadi, criticised the British government and said its actions were another “destructive and unconstructive” act towards Iran.

“This is a bitter historical irony that a country that is the founder and supporter of organised terrorist groups, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs wants to make accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its loyal and honest forces, who are at the forefront of fighting organised crimes,” the official, cited by IRNA, said.

The summons came after the UK announced sanctions on Iranian officials it said were involved in threats to kill journalists on British soil and others it said were part of international criminal gangs linked to Tehran.

The UK has also accused Iranian-linked groups of being behind a deadly attack on US troops in Jordan.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron condemned the “attacks by Iran-aligned militia groups against US forces” and urged “Iran to de-escalate in the region”.

However, Iran denied the accusation that it had any links to the Jordan strike that killed three US personnel and that it was not looking for an “expansion” of the tensions in the Middle East.

“As we have clearly stated before, the resistance groups in the region are responding [to] the war crimes and genocide of the child-killing Zionist [Israeli] regime and … they do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Nasser Kanaani was cited as saying by IRNA on Monday.

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“These groups decide and act based on their own principles and priorities, as well as the interests of their country and people.”

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US President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he had made a decision on responding to the attacks in Jordan and said he holds Iran “responsible, in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it”.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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