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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ministers warned of terrorism threat from Iran

Press Association
Thursday June 29, 2006

The intelligence agencies have warned ministers that Iran could launch terrorist attacks against British targets if the row over its controversial nuclear programme escalates, it was disclosed today.

The parliamentary intelligence and security committee - which oversees the work of the agencies - said the possibility of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism was now considered one of the main threats facing the UK.

"There is increasing international tension over Iran's nuclear programme and backing of groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah," the committee said in its annual report.

"There is a possibility of an increased threat to UK interests from Iranian state-sponsored terrorism should the diplomatic situation deteriorate."

Ministers have previously claimed that sophisticated roadside bombs used in a series of deadly attacks on British troops in Iraq have been supplied through Iran, although they have not blamed the regime directly.

The committee - which is made up of senior MPs and peers - took evidence from the heads of MI6, MI5, GCHQ and the defence intelligence staff in drawing up its report.

It said that Britain continued to face a "serious and sustained threat" from international terrorism - most significantly from al Qaida and associated networks.

Other security threats included the activities of dissident groups in Northern Ireland - which continued to pose a threat in the province and on the British mainland - and the international spread of weapons of mass destruction.
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