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. Britain outlines case against attack on Iran: report
LONDON (AFP) Jan 23, 2005
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has drawn up Britain's case against a military strike on Iran amid fears US President George W. Bush may seek support for a new conflict, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Straw has produced a 200-page dossier that rules out military action and makes the case for a "negotiated solution" to thwart Iran's suspected ambition to produce nuclear weapons, The Sunday Times reported.

It says a peaceful solution led by Britain, France and Germany is "in the best interests of Iran and the international community," while referring to "safeguarding Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology."

The dossier, entitled Iran's Nuclear Programme, was quietly issued in the House of Commons on the eve of Bush's inauguration last week for fear of provoking a public rift with Washington, the newspaper said.

However, it added that privately tensions are running high between the two nations.

The approach contrasts with the British government's two Iraq dossiers, which were trumpeted to make the case for joining the US-led invasion on March

The Sunday Times said the message that the British government wants no part in another war in the Middle East will be reinforced by Prime Minister Tony Blair when he meets Bush in Brussels next month and at an Anglo-American summit in Washington after the British general election, expected in May.

It said Straw will also make the case when he meets US secretary of state nominee Condoleezza Rice, a Bush confidante, in London next month.

The perception that the United States is embarking on a course of confrontation with Iran has grown since The New Yorker magazine reported this week that US commandos have been operating inside Iran since mid-2004, secretly scouting targets for possible air strikes.

The Pentagon attacked the story by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh as "riddled with errors of fundamental fact" but did not expressly deny conducting covert reconnaissance missions.

Vice President Dick Cheney, declaring on a radio talk show this week that Iran was "right at the top of the list" of global problems, warned that Israel might launch a pre-emptive strike on its own to shut down Iran's nuclear program.

But Cheney played down the likelihood of US military action.

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