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Fire breaks out near London offices of Iran opposition group

Dissident umbrella organization claims Tehran behind blaze, citing neighbor who saw perpetrator throw Molotov cocktail, but police say ‘no information to suggest a targeted attack’

Supporters of the Iranian resistance and the main opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) rally in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington, February 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Supporters of the Iranian resistance and the main opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) rally in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington, February 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

LONDON — A fire broke out next to the London office of an Iranian opposition group, police said late Monday, adding that there was no evidence so far that it was a deliberate attack.

The incident occurred in a bin shed next to the offices of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran Organization (PMOI) in Cricklewood, northwest London, during the early hours of Monday morning, police said.

“We know this incident has caused concern among the local community,” said Detective Superintendent Tony Bellis on Monday evening.

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

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

A video shared by Al-Arabiya purported to show the building damaged by the fire.

The London Fire Brigade said it sent three engines after being called to a fire at 2:15 a.m, with firefighters finding the ground-floor bin room destroyed.

The service said no injuries were reported.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, of which the PMOI is a member, earlier issued a statement accusing the Iranian regime of being behind the attack.

“The clerical regime’s terrorists and operatives used Molotov cocktails and firebombs to attack one of the offices of the supporters of the PMOI,” it said.

The organization cited a neighbor who said they witnessed an attacker running away after throwing a Molotov cocktail.

The incident comes shortly after the head of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, said security services had foiled more than a dozen planned attacks by Tehran on people based in the UK who are considered “enemies of the regime.”

Demonstrators take part in a protest against Iranian authorities, in London, October 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

The London-based Persian-language TV channel Iran International is also under increased police protection after receiving threats, which it blames on Tehran, for its coverage of the protests that have been rocking the country for weeks.

The PMOI is a militant group that advocates overthrowing the Iranian regime and installing its own government.

The UK lifted its designation as a terrorist group in 2008.

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