Britain says opposed to strike on Iran "at this moment"

LONDON Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:12pm EDT

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gestures at a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gestures at a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels October 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sebastien Pirlet

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it was opposed to a military strike on Iran "at this moment" over its disputed nuclear program, arguing sanctions were having an effect and diplomacy should be given time.

The comments followed a report by Britain's Guardian newspaper which said Britain had rebuffed U.S. plans to use its bases to support the build-up of troops in the Gulf, due to legal advice warning that a pre-emptive strike would be illegal.

The legal advice says Iran currently does not represent a "clear and present threat", according to the Guardian, which cited unnamed sources.

"The government does not believe military action against Iran is the right course of action at this moment, though no option is off the table," Prime Minister David Cameron's spokeswoman told reporters, declining to comment on the legal advice.

"We want to see the sanctions, which are starting to have some impact, working, and also engaging with Iran," she said.

The Guardian said Britain had not received a formal U.S. request to use its bases for a military build-up.

Cameron and Western diplomats believe harsh sanctions imposed on Iran by the West are beginning to weaken Tehran's resolve and to stoke public discontent, and that military action would reverse the trend and rally Iranians to the government.

Israel and the West believe Iran is trying to achieve nuclear weapons capability. Tehran says its program is for purely civilian, energy purposes.

Years of diplomacy and sanctions have failed to resolve the dispute, raising fears of Israeli military action against its arch foe and of a new Middle East war.

Talks between the West and Iran could take place after the November 6 United States presidential election, following three inconclusive rounds this year.

The appetite for conflict is low in cash-strapped Britain, as well as in the United States, after recent costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Israel, support for unilateral military action soon against Iran is by no means universal, and several prominent public figures have spoken out against such a move.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Comments (4)
mils54 wrote:
I honestly do not believe Iran, Even with all it’s bluster and BS would use a nuclear weapon on Israel, Not with the retalitory potential from Israel to literally incinerate Iran, Not to mention all the Arab countries surrounding Israel and the Palistinians that would be wiped out as well. The real issue IMHO is control of the strait of Hormuz and the control of what else…OIL, As does most everything in this world, It comes back to MONEY! again and again!…

Oct 26, 2012 2:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Abulafiah wrote:
There is a message to Romney. “If you do as Israel tells you and attack Iran, don’t expect the British to help you in another illegal war”.

@mils54

Iran has no nukes, this is confirmed by the IAEA year after year. so they couldn’t use one even if they wanted to. Israel and their lap-dog Republicans in the US have been saying Iran is on the verge of having nukes for decades and it hasn’t happened. I think we can safely ignore them.

Oct 27, 2012 3:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:
@abulafiah
According to the NY Post…

They havent been saying that for decades. The real concern started when Iran started enriching Uranium beyond 3.5% which is all that is needed for power. They now have the potential to make a nuclear weapon. Potential is not equal to actually having one. Without testing a weapon successfully it can be concluded that they do not have one that they made. Just like North Korea doesnt have one, Iran does not either. All signs point to them developing a nuclear weapon however.

In my opinion the only acceptable time to go after Iran is when a nuclear weapon test has been conducted. Seizemic readings will give it away.

Oct 27, 2012 5:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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