Police investigate fire at offices of Iranian dissidents in London

British authorities have warned of multiple incidents this year

London's Fire Brigade was called to a fire at the offices of an Iran opposition group.  PA
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Detectives at Scotland Yard are investigating a fire at the offices of an Iranian-linked opposition faction in London.

Firefighters were called in the early hours on Monday after reports of a fire at the group's offices in Cricklewood, north-west London.

The offices operate as a support centre for families of Iran's political prisoners and those affected by the regime.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police Service told The National the circumstances surrounding the incident were being investigated.

The group, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), has raised fears it was a deliberate attack.

“We know this incident has caused concern among the local community and have liaised with local community groups as a result,” Detective Superintendent Tony Bellis, of the North-West Command Unit, said.

“The investigation into this incident is being led by detectives from the North-West Command Unit CID and officers are keeping an open mind in relation to any potential motivation behind this incident.

“There is no current information to suggest a targeted attack at this time, and it is not being treated as terror-related.

“However, due to the location of the incident and the organisation based at the adjacent premises, the investigation is also being supported by specialist officers from the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command.”

Since January, UK intelligence services have revealed at least 10 specific threats against dissidents living in Britain “who don’t toe [Tehran’s] line.”

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum warned last month that Tehran “projects a threat to the UK directly through its aggressive intelligence services”.

The MEK-affiliated National Council of Resistance of Iran told The National it feared it was deliberate.

“The exterior of the building caught fire. Firefighters, who arrived on the scene, extinguished the fire and prevented it from spreading to other parts of the building,” it said in a statement.

A ground-floor bin room was destroyed by fire but there were no reports of any injuries, London's Fire Brigade said.

Three fire engines and about 15 firefighters attended the scene.

Updated: December 06, 2022, 11:19 AM