Sunday, August 14, 2005

Britain keeps distance from talk of strike on Iran

London Times

August 14, 2005

THE foreign secretary Jack Straw sought to distance Britain yesterday from comments by President George W Bush that he would not rule out a military strike against Iran.

It came as diplomats gave warning that British attempts to solve the crisis prompted by Tehran’s resumption of its nuclear programme last week were doomed to failure.

Bush raised the temperature by giving an interview to Israeli television from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Asked if he would consider force, he replied: “All options are on the table.” He added: “The use of force is the last option for any president and you know we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country.”

The Foreign Office reacted swiftly. “Our position is clear and has been made very, very clear by the foreign secretary,” a spokesman said. “We do not think there are any circumstances where military action would be justified against Iran. It does not form part of British foreign policy.”

So soon after the invasion of Iraq, which has led to so much political turmoil for Tony Blair’s administration, Straw is anxious not to be seen trying to talk up any future forays. But some rightwingers in Washington have criticised Straw’s position, saying that every time the foreign secretary rules out any remote chance of military action the Iranians know there is no need to compromise....

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