Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fox Hits Out at Straw's Actions on Iran

Liam Fox, the [UK] shadow defence secretary, has accused the Government of making a "pretty big mistake" by ruling out military intervention in Iran. Mr Fox said Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, had denied himself a crucial negotiating tool when he said force was not an option over Teheran's nuclear ambitions. READ MORE

And he described Tony Blair as "a liability" on foreign policy, claiming the war in Iraq had "severely damaged" the Prime Minister's credibility.

In September 2005, amid increasing internation concerns about Iran's increased uranium enrichment activity, Mr Straw said: "This will not be resolved by military means, let's be clear about that."

Mr Fox said it was "unbelievable" that the Foreign Secretary had taken such a step.

"If you are in negotiation with a regime like Iran, and you rule out force before you even get to the negotiating table, you have actually denied yourself one of the key weapons in the negotiation," he told GMTV's Sunday programme.

"The Government is now beginning to row back from that position at the moment but I think it was a pretty big mistake for a Foreign Secretary to make."

Mr Fox also said Mr Blair's actions in the run-up to the Iraq war meant the public might not believe the Prime Minster if he said Iran was developing nuclear weapons capability.

"Frankly if Tony Blair stands up and tells the British people that, who is going to believe him? He is a liability now in terms of foreign policy and for that, and many other reasons as well, the quicker Tony Blair is off the scene the better.

"His credibility is now very, very compromised because of what he said about Iraq, about weapons of mass destruction and so on."