UK's James Cleverly says Iran needs to change its behaviour

Britain experiencing 'very high level' of Iranian 'aggression', Foreign Secretary says

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at a Nato meeting this month. AP
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The UK's Foreign Secretary said on Wednesday that Britain was determined to support allies in the Middle East to “ensure that they never see a nuclear armed Iran”.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, James Cleverly said Britain was resolute in its efforts to thwart Iran’s malign activities.

“We maintain a tough and robust position towards Iran,” he said. “Our actions are in response to their behaviour and if they don't like it, they can and should change their behaviour.”

Britain has been the target of more than a dozen Iranian actions in the past 18 months. Mr Cleverly said Britain's security services have interrupted at least 15 attempted kidnappings on UK soil by Iranian agents.

“We have been subjected to a very, very high level of aggression directly in the UK,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Secretary introduced plans for new sanctions on Iranian decision makers in response to the regime's subversive actions on British soil.

The new measures would broaden the scope through which the UK could punish the regime, taking aim at Iran for activities that undermined peace and stability in the Middle East as well as for the sale and spread of weapons technologies.

Tension between Iran and the West has been building in recent months over the regime’s support of Russia in the war in Ukraine.

Iran has supplied drones to Moscow, allowing Russian forces to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

In a wide-ranging interview at the Aspen Security Forum, which brings together global leaders in security and diplomacy, Mr Cleverly also called for more military support for Ukraine as it struggles to gain ground in its grinding counter-offensive that is going much more slowly than expected.

“What you want is a decisive level of overmatch, and that's what we should try actually with Ukraine,” he said.

Updated: July 19, 2023, 6:38 PM