Daily Israel Report

Cameron Urges Israel Not to Strike Iran

British Prime Minister David Cameron urges Israel not to launch a military attack on Iran, says sanctions should be given time to work.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/16/2012, 2:15 AM

David Cameron
David Cameron
Reuters

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday urged Israel not to launch a military attack on Iran over its contested nuclear program and said sanctions should be given time to work, AFP reported.

In a speech to the United Jewish Israel Appeal in London, Cameron said that a military strike against sites in Iran would only serve to rally the Iranian people around the regime at a time when the sanctions were starting to bite.

He warned the Iranians, however, that if they failed to halt uranium enrichment, then "nothing is off the table".

Cameron’s comments were made as European Union foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, agreed on a host of tough new financial and trade sanctions against Iran aimed at forcing a breakthrough in stalled talks on the nuclear program.

He refuted claims that the sanctions strategy was "fatally flawed", saying they had helped to slow the nuclear program and reduced Iranian oil exports by 45 percent.

"Most significantly, there are signs that the Iranian people are beginning to question the regime's strategy with even pro-regime groups protesting at the actions of the government," Cameron said, according to AFP.

If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered a military strike, it would strengthen the Iranian regime, he claimed.

"I have said to Prime Minister Netanyahu that now is not the time for Israel to resort to military action," Cameron said.

"Beyond the unpredictable dangers inherent in any conflict, the other reason is this: at the very moment when the regime faces unprecedented pressure and the people are on the streets; and when Iran's only real ally in Syria is losing his grip on power, a foreign military strike is exactly the chance the regime would look for to unite his people against a foreign enemy,” he added.

"We shouldn't give them that chance. We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work," said the British Prime Minister.

Cameron added, "But let me also say this. In the long term, if Iran makes the wrong choice, nothing is off the table. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to Israel. And a threat to the world. And this country will work unwaveringly to prevent that from happening."