Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Iran would pose 'serious threat' if it had nuclear weapons

George Jones, The Telegraph UK:
Iran would pose a serious threat to world stability and peace if it developed a nuclear capability, Tony Blair told MPs yesterday. READ MORE

He said it was a "concern and worry" because Iran was a powerful country with a large part of the world's energy resources at its disposal. The threat to world energy supplies because large reserves of oil and gas were controlled by rogue or unstable states such as Iran is one of the arguments being deployed by the Prime Minister to justify reviving Britain's nuclear energy programme.

Appearing before the Commons Liaison Committee, Mr Blair gave a further hint that he was ready to give the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations, saying he was prepared to face up to unpopular decisions.

"With some of the issues to do with climate change, and you can see it with the debate about nuclear power, there are going to be difficult and controversial decisions government has got to take."

He said Iran's nuclear programme, support for terrorism and "meddling" in Iraq were all worries that gave genuine cause for concern. But he said "no one is talking military action or any of the rest of it" as it was quite a different country from Iraq. Mr Blair said over-hasty withdrawal of multinational forces from Iraq would leave the country at the mercy of warring factions.

He described as "rubbish" the claim by Mohammed Sidique Khan, one of the London suicide bombers, that UK foreign policy was "oppressing" Muslims.

Mr Blair had been challenged by MPs on whether the Government had put sufficient effort into a "hearts and minds" campaign to tackle alienation in minority communities.

"I looked at it and said: 'This is someone brought up in this country who has all the freedoms of growing up in this country and a good standard of living because of growing up in this country'."