Britain's Cameron puts Iran on guard, sets out support for Israel

JERUSALEM Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:30am EDT

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu after delivering joint statements in Jerusalem March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu after delivering joint statements in Jerusalem March 12, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron denounced Iran's government as a "despotic regime" in a speech to Israel's parliament on Wednesday and accused Tehran of making "despicable" efforts to arm Palestinian militants.

His address to the Knesset was staunchly pro-Israeli, and he delighted his hosts by claiming Jewish ancestral roots and talking tough on Iran, which is in negotiations with world powers on curbing its contested nuclear ambitions.

"I share your deep skepticism and great concern about Iran," Cameron said. "I am not starry eyed about the new regime," he added, referring to the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani, seen as a relative moderate in Iran.

The Conservative British leader, on his first visit to Israel since taking power in 2010, also used his speech to throw his support behind U.S. efforts to clinch an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

However, he said global tensions around Iran over what Israel and the West fear is its pursuit of nuclear weapons, were likely to persist even if the generations-old Middle East conflict was resolved. Iran denies seeking atomic arms.

"Israel is not the cause of the shadow that Iran casts over the world," Cameron said.

"There is no rule that says if Israel and the Palestinians make peace, Iran is somehow going to dismantle its despotic regime or abandon its nuclear intentions."

Cameron said he had not come to lecture Israel on how to secure peace, and he made only a passing reference to continued Jewish settlement in occupied land that Palestinians say is stifling their aspirations for an independent state.

"We all yearn for a lasting and secure peace between Israel and its neighbors," Cameron said. ‬"We back the compromises needed, including the halt to settlement activity and an end to Palestinian incitement too.‬"


Britain has strengthened its diplomatic ties with Tehran, appointing a non-resident charge d'affaires in November, but Cameron had harsh words for Iran over Israel's seizure in the Red Sea last week of a ship with rockets hidden in its cargo.

Israel said the Syrian-made missiles had been supplied by Iran and were intended for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Iran has denied the accusations.

Cameron said it was "yet another despicable attempt by the Iranians to smuggle more long-range rockets into Gaza".

Soon after the speech - in which Cameron decried "the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism" - Israeli Army Radio reported that a barrage of missiles were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, an enclave ruled by Hamas Islamists.

He also pointed to any future nuclear-armed Iran as "a threat to the whole world" and pledged that Britain would never allow that to happen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced an interim nuclear deal signed last November by leading powers, including Britain, that allowed an easing of some sanctions against Iran.

He has also repeatedly condemned the possibility that a future accord, already under discussion, might allow Iran to retain some technologies that have bomb-making potential.

Cameron is due to spend just two days in the region and hold separate talks with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who are at odds over U.S. proposals to keep peace talks going beyond an April target date for an agreement.

A succession of European leaders have visited Israel in recent months, and just like those before him, Cameron said he would seek to encourage Netanyahu and Abbas to back a framework deal being formulated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

(Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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Comments (3)
TBellchambers wrote:
The mockery of Mideast ‘peace talks’ exposed by congressional vote HR.938
The EU should insist on peace by Israel

Now that the US House of Representatives has acquiesced to the AIPAC demand to effectively appoint Israel as the ’51st State of the Union’ (HR 938) – where does that leave America as the claimed independent arbiter and conciliator of the so-called ‘peace talks’ chaired by Secretary of State, John Kerry, who is instructed by President Barack Obama; Obama is instructed by Congress, and Congress is instructed, of course, by the Israel lobby?

What we can now see is a strategy, if not a stratagem, by the Israel negotiating team to convince the international community of the integrity of its position when, in fact, the expected outcome of failure was apparently already planned prior to commencement.

And that includes making the Palestinians the scapegoat for the inevitable failure of the talks and the continuance of Israel’s forced expansion into the Occupied Territories with increasing house demolitions. Settlement is the illegal policy that accords with the charter of the Likud party of which Binyamin Netanyahu is the leader. A policy that is in direct defiance to the will of the UN and the EU.

This is an exceedingly dangerous confidence trick that will shape not only the future of the Middle East, for the next decade, but also the world.

Mar 12, 2014 12:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
nylegal wrote:
Its ironic that our government puts so much pressure on Israel for a peace deal, as rockets are literally being launched from Gaza today, and impose an April deadline. The Iranians have been negotiating since November about the framework for a deal that apparently has no end date. (although it is said to be July). They have been given more time to surreptitiously develop and fortify the military component of its nuclear program. Parchin is off limits for inspection and our leaders don’t seem to care. We are told that we will know when Iran is near completing the bomb. How? If inspectors can’t see sites like Parchin that assurance is nonsense. We are all fools and will be exposed as such when Iran announces an underground nuclear test. As seen last week in the missile seizure, Iran is actively arming its proxies likely in anticipation of an Israeli attack when the nuclear talks fail. We are negotiating with terrorists and should expect the events that follow (Iranian bomb test, Iranian ICBM, nuclear proliferation in the ME).

Mar 12, 2014 2:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
VultureTX wrote:
” future of the Middle East, for the next decade, but also the world.”

Sorry who killed the most palenstinians in 2012? in 2013? which country/ethnicity has killed more Palestinians since the Balfour Declaration?

hint not the jews.

Syria is the fault of israel? egypt as well ? and Libya?

/so whether you are crazy or or you truly believe that the Jews control the middleast , either way you already lost to reality that Arab muslims are killing each other and scrabbling to save face of who is in lsat place.

Mar 12, 2014 6:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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