No plans for military action on Iran, says Blair

Date: 02-06-07

LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said there were no plans for military action against Iran, but there is growing alarm at Tehran's defiance of the international community.

Blair reiterated that, if the Islamic republic were to cooperate with the West in terms of curbing its nuclear plans and other actions, "a whole series of doors would open up to them."

"Nobody is talking or planning military intervention," Blair told a parliamentary committee Tuesday.

"It's not what the international community wants, it's not what we want," he said, while citing US President George W. Bush's phrase that "you can't take any option off the table."

"But it is important that Iran understands that at the moment it is doing two groups of things that are really unsettling the international community," Blair said, citing firstly the development of "nuclear weapons capability."

Secondly, the Iranian "are, around the region, deliberately fomenting sectarianism and conflict when they should be responsibly backing, again, the will of the international community."

He added that it was "important to distinguish between the Iranian people, who I suspect are equally dismayed at the strategy of the Iranian government, and that government themselves.

"If they change that strategy... I think they would find that a whole series of doors would open up to them."

And he added: "The fact is that it is trying to prevent reconciliation across the region and I think that is very shortsighted and very foolish."

"For example if they were to play a constructive role on Iraq it would be of immense help to the international community, it would also actually be of immense help to Iran in the end since they don't want chaos on their borders."


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