This report has been spotted in Eurosoc.
Whilst I cannot agree with Press scaremongering, this report does appear to have attributed statements and is specifically clear in its message.
It is therefore strange that the UK press have given little regard to this, or that the Home Office fails to mention it.
Given its apparent gravitas, I am sure that the Home Office could have announced this in such a way not to cause any widespread fears or panic, a manner in which the general public would be a little more aware.
Very different from the generalised scare stories of earlier this year, which were then followed up by a statement to say that there was no specific threat. Not so with this.
A security analyst told British MPs that Iran has been
scouting for targets in Europe, including nuclear power stations and
Claude Moniquet, director of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre
said that “We have serious signals that something is under preparation
in Europe… Iranian intelligence is working extremely hard to prepare
its people and to prepare actions.”
Moniquet said that there is evidence of increased numbers of Iranian
agents at work in Europe, possibly planning to target “British citizens
on the streets of London… just as they kill British soldiers in the
south of Iraq.”
The meeting with MPs from all parties took place in the British
House of Commons this week. Conservative MP Patrick Mercer told
colleagues that Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett “had acknowledged
worries about Tehran backing terrorist activity inside Britain” in a
debate last year. The UK's Security and Intelligence Committee, which
reviews the work of MI5 and MI6 had also warned “worries about Tehran
backing terrorist activity inside Britain.”
However, government security officials later attempted to soothe
concerns. One told reporters that while it is certain that Iranian
agents are conducting espionage on potential military and industrial
targets within the UK, there is no verification of claims that nuclear
power plants are among the targets, or that more agents are on the
ground (phew, that's ok then).
He added that the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised
expectations that more spies would be sent to Britain and Europe, but
“it is not clear” if that has been the case.
Strangely, the report is given scant coverage in the British press,
but makes the headlines in the US and Australia. In Britain, the Glasgow Herald
gives it serious coverage, including a quote from MP Mercer that Iran
and Britain were engaged in “an undeclared war.” The Telegraph adds
Moniquet's warning almost as a footnote to Conservative leader David
Cameron's warning on Iran's nuclear programme (where tough guy Cameron
gets the opportunity to bluster that he wouldn't rule out military
action against Iran). The Guardian doesn't mention it at all.
Moniquet's organisation is described by the Telegraph
as “a Right-wing Brussels think-tank”. Associated Press prefers
“private think-tank”. Is the Telegraph now following the BBC protocol
whereby right-wing organisations must be identified as such, while
leftist groups are held as neutral observers?
ESISC deals with European intelligence agencies in its research.