Four terrorist [sic] suspects arrested by armed police in dawn swoops in north London yesterday are believed to be linked to a dissident group plotting against the Iranian government, according to police and anti-terrorist officials.
The men, aged 31, 37, 58 and 63, were being questioned last night at the high security police station at Paddington Green.
A Scotland Yard source said they were believed to have links to terrorist [sic] activity in the Middle East. The men were said to be Iranians or part of a group opposed to Tehran.
They were not linked to any al-Qaida network nor planning terrorist attacks in the UK, anti-terrorist officials said.
Officers from the Metropolitan police's S013 anti-terrorist branch seized two of the men in a car in Barnet, in the early hours of yesterday. They were supported by armed officers in case the men had guns.
The police did not recover any firearms, although the road was closed for some time while forensic examinations were carried out. The operation was led by the police, with the support of MI5.
Two other men were arrested at residential addresses, and officers were searching three properties, two in Barnet and one in Finchley.
A source said they did not expect to discover any bomb-making equipment, but hoped to find computers and documents revealing the men's plans. A number of items were seized.
The men are being held under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000, on suspicion of preparing, instigating or commissioning acts of terrorism. The operation, which took place a stone's throw from Barnet police station, closed off a half-mile stretch of the high street for more than an hour, witnesses said.
This comes shortly after the reported arrest of UK-based anti-regime broadcaster Dr. Froud Fouladvand. I do not know whether he was one of the suspects referred to in the Guardian article.
Readers are reminded that while the US and UK governments are allies in the Iraqi theatre, Britain and America may be pursuing different goals in Iran. While Washington has expressed support for Iranian dissidents, the British government is perceived by dissidents as being friendly with the IRI regime. It will be interesting to see whether this arrest affects trans-Atlantic relations.