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      Cameron: Iran Strike Not Justified – Yet

      UK prime minister David Cameron says he believes sanctions need more time before an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program is justified
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/16/2012, 12:50 PM

      David Cameron
      David Cameron
      Reuters

      British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday that an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program wouldn't be justified – yet.

      "I don't think as we stand today that military action by Israel would be justified." Cameron said in New York. "I don't think the Israelis should take that action now."

      "We've told them they shouldn't, and we've said that we wouldn't support it if they did," he added.

      Asked directly about whether a military strike would ever be an option, Cameron said "We will not take any option off the table."

      At the same time, the British prime minister said he believed there were other options to exercise before such an option could be justified.

      "I don't support action now because, frankly, we've got more road to run in putting in place sanctions, in putting in place tough measures against the Iranian regime," Cameron explained.

      "They can have civil nuclear power," he added. "If they give up their mission of having military nuclear power, they can have a future as a country that has normal relations with the rest of the world."

      Cameron clarified he did not consider containment or appeasement to be an option should sanctions fail because it would "trigger an arms race" in the Middle East.

      "I'm not arguing for containment. What I am arguing for is massive pressure," he said, adding that he understood Israel's strong feelings about Iran's nuclear program.

      "We are a friend of Israel. Israel has a right to exist as a democratic state," Cameron said. "It's very important that Israel knows it has strong allies like America and like the United Kingdom."

      The United Nations and European Union have levied numerous rounds of sanctions on Tehran's economy, destabilizing the Iranian rial.

      They have also made the purchase of Iran's exportable crude oil – a key pillar of the nation's economy – increasingly difficult by cutting off banking channels and insurance options.

      Despite the sanctions, Iran has not shown any intention of giving up its drive for nuclear weapons, leading to diverging foreign policies between Jerusalem and its allies in the West.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said sanctions are not working and has indicated an Israeli military strike may occur within a few short months.

      This has placed him at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama who, like Cameron, believes sanctions may yet win out.

      Both Cameron and Obama, who met earlier this week, seem intent on waiting for upcoming nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany before considering military action.

      But the U.S. has also asked Russia to make it clear to the Iranians that the upcoming talks, expected to take place in April, are a "last chance" for a diplomatic solution.