Blair: we don't want conflict with Iran, we're too busy
LONDON, May 25 (AFP) May 25, 2006
Prime Minister Tony Blair said he did not want to start a conflict with Iran as Britain's armed forces already had enough problems to handle, in interview released Thursday by his office.
But if Iran deliberately breached its obligations on its nuclear programme, then the international community would have to take action through the United Nations, Blair warned.
However, the stand-off could be easily resolved if Iran played by the rules, Blair told the Arab satellite television channel Al-Jazeera on Wednesday.
He also said that the continuing violence in Iraq was not the fault of the multinational forces in the war-shattered country. Britain has 7,200 troops in Iraq and 3,000 in Afghanistan.
"Nobody is targeting Iran," Blair said.
"People are simply worried because they appear to be in breach of their nuclear obligations and because they are supporting terrorism around the Middle East.
"We don't want a conflict with Iran, we have got enough on our plate doing other things. But if Iran goes out of its way then to breach its international obligations, of course the international community through the UN Security Council has got to take up the issue.
"But it could so easily be resolved if people just understood that here are the rules and we should all play by them."
Blair continued: "I think Iran continually makes this mistake. It thinks that America and its allies are out to get Iran.
"We are not, we just want them to stop supporting terrorism and to stop meddling in the affairs of a country (Iraq) that is now governed under a UN process and with a multinational force that is there with UN support."
He said the most important thing was to have "a unified international position" on Iran.
Blair was to arrive in Washington on Thursday for talks with US President George W. Bush where Iran and Iraq were to figure high on the agenda.
On the continuing violence in Iraq, Blair said: "Sorry, but it is not our fault, it is the fault of the people doing it.
"How can we be so certain of this? Because there is now a democratic process, which has resulted in a democratically elected government. That government is representative of all communities in Iraq.
"So there is no excuse for anybody to carry on with violence, or terrorism, or these barbaric executions of innocent people."
He said that British troops deployed in Iraq would be withdrawn as soon as possible.
"The best thing for Britain,... the best thing for me would be to say Iraq is now a stable democratic country, the multinational force leaves.
"That is what I want, that is what Iraqis want, so why can't we work together and let them have it?"
He added: "What is happening in Iraq politically is amazing.
"Iraq could be a successful prosperous country."All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.