Former US national security adviser Anthony Lake is one of many high powered advisers on Obama’s ‘Senior Working Group on National Security‘ which he officially rolled out June 18.
READ MORE: Obama’s National Security Group Teaming With Globalists

Daniel Dombey and Edward Luce / | July 1, 2008

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the biggest threat facing the world, according to one of Barack Obama’s senior foreign policy advisers.

He also signalled that the US Democratic presidential candidate would push Europe to agree tougher sanctions against Tehran.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Anthony Lake, a former US national security adviser who has worked with Mr Obama since the start of his campaign, also urged the US to learn lessons from its traumatic withdrawal from Vietnam regarding pulling out of Iraq.

“The most dangerous crisis we are going to face potentially in the next three to 10 years is if the Iranians get on the edge of developing a nuclear weapon,” he said.

“If I were the Europeans I would much rather put on the table more sanctions, together with bigger carrots, and have that negotiation than I would face that crisis down the road.”

In recent weeks, the issue of Tehran’s nuclear programme has gained prominence as speculation has mounted about a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But European countries have been reluctant to endorse new sanctions banning fresh investment in Iran’s energy sector, an idea mooted by Mr Obama’s supporters. Some European states are preoccupied by dependence on Russian gas and want to have Iran as an optional alternative.

European Union diplomats also reject suggestions that the world’s big powers should water down their conditions for starting negotiations on Iran’s nuclear ­dispute. Under current international policy, formal negotiations can begin only if Tehran suspends uranium enrichment, which can produce both civil nuclear fuel and weapons-grade material.

Mr Obama and his advisers stress the Democratic candidate’s readiness to sit down with Iranian leaders without conditions.

Mr Lake depicted the Democratic candidate as a tough-minded realist rather than an anti-war politician. “When I joined the campaign, I remember asking someone at the very beginning: ‘Is this a protest campaign or a presidential campaign?’” he said, before insisting that the answer was clearly the latter.

He stressed that Mr Obama, even after withdrawing troops from Iraq over 16 months as he has promised, would maintain “a residual presence for clearly defined missions”. These would include military training, and “preparedness to go back in if there are specific acts of genocidal violence”.

“That is not ‘cut and run and let’s just see what happens’,” Mr Lake said. “It seems to me a very responsible strategy.”


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