The personal representative office of Iran’s supreme leader in London was given more than £100,000 by the British government as part of its coronavirus furlough scheme, annual accounts show, The Times reports.
Figures lodged with Companies House last month show that the Islamic Centre of England received £109,476 from the coronavirus job retention scheme, as the government furlough grants were officially titled, despite long-running disputes with Tehran.
The centre is a mosque and cultural office in a former cinema and bingo hall in Maida Vale, west London. It is a major centre for Shia Muslim worship, education and outreach.
It also serves as an office for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who has appointed its director, Seyed Hashem Moosavi, a mid-ranking cleric.
The centre operates as a company limited by guarantee under UK law, which made it eligible for the furlough scheme. Many of its activities would have been curtailed or stopped by the UK coronavirus lockdown, including worship.
It is unclear how many employees benefited from the payments. The Islamic Centre has not replied to a request for comment.