Blair refuses to rule out Iran force

April 24, 2006 at 3:46 PM

LONDON, April 24 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair Monday refused to rule out the possibility that he would support military action against Iran over its nuclear programs.

"Nobody is talking about a military invasion," said Blair, at his monthly Downing Street press conference, when asked if he would consider lending British support to military action taken by the United States. Blair insisted that "Iran is not Iraq."

"People do however want to send a very strong signal to Iran because some of the comments made by the president of Iran are completely unjustifiable, and Iran is supporting terrorism in the region to the detriment of democratic governments, it is in breach of its nuclear obligations and people want it to comply," said Blair.

Questioned on the issue in Parliament last week, Blair backed U.S. President George W. Bush on his decision to keep all military options, including targeted nuclear strikes, on the table.

Pressed as to whether he would consider supporting the use of force against the Islamic Republic, Blair would say only: "It's not very sensible at this moment in time to send a signal of weakness; we want to send a signal of strength."

Blair denied that his position was at odds with that of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who has repeatedly described military action against Iran as both "inconceivable" and unjustifiable.

The United Nations is currently awaiting a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear programs, which Tehran insists are for peaceful energy purposes only. However, Western countries fear Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

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