UK’s Cameron says he told Netanyahu now is not the time to bomb Iran

A foreign military strike would unite Iranians behind the regime, British PM tells pro-Israel dinner

British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in London in May, 2011 (Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO/Flash90)
British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in London in May, 2011 (Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO/Flash90)

LONDON — Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron revealed on Monday night that he recently told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now is not the right time to bomb Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaking at the annual dinner of the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) in central London, Cameron said an Israeli attack would unite the Iranian people behind the regime and lead to “unpredictable dangers.”

“A foreign military strike is exactly the chance the regime would look for to unite its people against a foreign enemy. We shouldn’t give them that chance,” he said.

Netanyahu had indicated in recent weeks that he was contemplating a strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities to thwart the regime’s nuclear drive, but he was publicly opposed by the US administration and several leading Israeli security figures. He has since sought, and failed, to have the US set “red lines” which, if crossed by Iran, would prompt military action, telling the UN General Assembly last month that Iran had to be stopped at the enrichment stage of its program.

Cameron warned, however, that Iran is a “threat to the world”’ and said Britain would do all it could to prevent the Islamic regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“A nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to Israel and the world. This country will work unwaveringly to prevent it happening,” he proclaimed.

He said the claim that Iran’s nuclear program was intended for civilian purposes was “not remotely credible.” He also told attendees that his belief in Israel was “unshakable.”

Cameron spoke as the European Union imposed new sanctions on Tehran that will see a clampdown on banking, energy and trade links.

“We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work,” Cameron said.

But he made plain that the military option remained as a last resort to thwart Iran. “Let me also say this: In the long term, if Iran makes the wrong choice, nothing is off the table.”

Earlier Monday, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said Iran now faced a “substantial” set of sanctions.

“The EU’s message today is clear: Iran should not underestimate our resolve,” he said. “The choices being made by Iran’s leaders are already having a profound impact.”

Hague said Britain will do all it can to pressure Iran to change course and to return to substantive talks.

“We want a negotiated solution, but Iran must show that it is willing to address our concerns,” he said.

At the dinner, Cameron also warned the Palestinians that there was no path to statehood except through talks with Israel.

Referring to plans by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas to seek an upgraded status for “Palestine” from the United Nations General Assembly next month, the prime minister said, “So if the Palestinian plan is simply posturing with the UN rather than negotiating with Israel, Britain will never support it.”

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