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Israel 'Unwise' To Launch Military Strike On Iran, Says William Hague

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William Hague has said it would be a mistake for Israel to launch a military strike against Iran in an attempt to destroy its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday morning, the foreign secretary said Israel should put its efforts into making sure there were effective sanctions against Tehran.

"I don't think the wise thing for Israel to do is launch a military attack," he said.

There are growing fears that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not be deterred by sanctions, the preferred route of the US and Britain to pressure the regime into abandoning its nuclear weapons programme.

Israel is rumoured to be planning military strikes within months. Ahmadinejad claimed this week that Iran had loaded its first domestically-made fuel rod into a nuclear reactor.

Hague said that Israel had not shown the British government any plans for an attack on Iran but acknowledged there had been some discussion by Israeli politicians in public about the possibility of a strike.

"They are not sharing any plans with us, they are not asking us to join in any plans, we are not calling for any military action against Iran," he said.

He added: "Our approach is 100% diplomatic and economics focused."

However he said that "no one wants Iran to have nuclear weapons" and said Britain did not take "any option off the table".

Hague warned there would be only two outcomes for Iran if they developed a nuclear bomb, either "they will be attacked and there will be a war, or there will be a Cold War".

He also said that Tehran had recently “increased its willingness" for "utterly illegal activities" including terrorist acts around the world. However he said he had no specific information that it intended to target the London Olympics.

On Saturday Hague warned that Iran's nuclear ambitions could plunge the world into "a new Cold War" with the Middle East.

He predicted a nuclear arms race among rival Middle Eastern states that would carry the dangers without the safety mechanisms of the old rivalry between the West and the USSR.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he a warned there was a "crisis coming down the tracks" that could result in "disaster" for world affairs.

"(The Iranians) are clearly continuing their nuclear weapons programme," Hague said.

"If they obtain nuclear weapons capability, then I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons.

"And so, the most serious round of nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons were invented would have begun with all the destabilising effects in the Middle East. And the threat of a new Cold War in the Middle East without necessarily all the safety mechanisms. That would be a disaster in world affairs."