Wednesday, April 23, 2008

British Minister Says Clinton's 'Obliterate' Iran Tone Imprudent

LONDON (AFP) A British foreign minister said Wednesday that US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's threat to "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons was imprudent.

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, a former United Nations deputy secretary-general and the foreign office minister responsible for Asia, questioned the comments by the New York senator, made in an interview broadcast Tuesday.

"While it is reasonable to warn Iran of the consequence of it continuing to develop nuclear weapons and what those real consequences bring to its security, it is not probably prudent... in today's world to threaten to obliterate any other country and in many cases civilians resident in such a country," he said.

The British government wanted a Middle East -- including Israel -- free of nuclear weapons, he said, responding to a question in the House of Lords, Britain's unelected upper chamber of parliament.

In response to a question on what she would do if the Islamic republic were to attack US ally Israel, Clinton told ABC News: "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran.

"In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

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