Iran is actively interfering in British political, cultural, and religious life, according our recent report by Dr Paul Stott.
The 100-page paper finds that the Islamic Republic is using both online and physical means to achieve its objectives in the UK. These are said to include promoting Scottish independence, as well as attacking Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the fight against global terrorism.
The report identifies a pattern of this conduct stretching back for decades but observes a notable uplift in recent years. Recent incidents identified by the report include:
- With echoes of the Salman Rushdie affair, the Iranian Embassy in London has sought to ban a film made by a Buckinghamshire-based Muslim director over allegations of blasphemy.
- Fake pro-independence material has been repeatedly identified and removed from social networks having been identified as emanating from Iran.
- Iran possesses a determined network of supporters within Parliament who have at times been a vocal lobby for its geopolitical interests.
- A number of UK-based charities, schools, and mosques have ties and shared objectives with figures in Iran.
The report’s author, Dr Paul Stott, said:
“The Iranian government is a hostile one. It holds British citizens hostage, using them as bargaining chips and seeks to interfere in the constitutional arrangements of the UK, via the tool of online disinformation. Here Iran must now be seen as a top tier threat, with similar intentions to Russia.
Regardless of the negotiations between the west and Iran over its nuclear ambitions, Iran also seeks to weaken our social cohesion, promoting its own stripe of Shia Islam at institutions in the UK. More than three decades on from the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, little has changed.”
About the author, Dr Paul Stott:
Dr Paul Stott is an Associate Research Fellow who joined the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism in January 2019. An experienced academic, he received an MSc in Terrorism Studies (Distinction) from the University of East London in 2007, and his PhD in 2015 from the University of East Anglia for the research “British Jihadism: The Detail and the Denial”. He is a frequent commentator in both the British and international media on terrorism, the Middle East, security and the political fringe.