Iran attack possible, says Cameron
London Telegraph | January 26, 2007
A pre-emptive military strike against Iran involving British troops could be launched under a Conservative government after David Cameron yesterday refused to rule out the use of force against the Gulf state.
Mr Cameron said it would be wrong for a future Tory administration to rule out an attack on Iran. "It's not sensible to rule all these things out in advance however much you want to avoid them."
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he said that while Iran had a right to civil nuclear power it was imperative that the West stopped the country developing nuclear weapons. "Especially as the president [of Iran] has said that he wants to wipe the state of Israel off the map."
The Tory leader criticised the stance of Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, who in the past has said that military action against Iran would be "unthinkable".
"I don't think it was right of Jack Straw to say what he said. I think in these matters it is not right to declare all your hand in advance. It's right not to take things entirely off the table.
"Obviously we want to see a peaceful resolution. I don't think it's right to rule out this approach or that approach but nobody wants to see the use of military force."
Mr Cameron said that Iran had a choice either to be part of the international community with access to nuclear power or a pariah state.
He also used the meeting to address the situation in Iraq, a country he visited at the end of last year.
"My conclusion on that is that what's required is a rapid build-up of the Iraqi army." He also urged greater focus on the elements of Iraqi administration that could be handed over to the local population.
However, he denied that on matters such as Iraq, that Britain followed a "slavish" line as far as its relationship with the United States is concerned.
"What I've actually said on that is that the special relationship with the US should be solid, not slavish. I think this is very important.
"Obviously we are the junior party in this relationship but we can bring things to the relationship."
He cited Britain's strong relationship with moderate Arab states, European policy and issues to do with the Gulf where the UK played a vital role in influencing American thinking.
While walking in Davos, an Alpine resort where the world's business and political leaders are meeting until Sunday, Mr Cameron also said that Russia's recent "pipeline machismo" represented a failure of British and European foreign policy.
To correct that failure, he said President Vladimir Putin and the Russians must be convinced to become part of the international community.
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