Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Oct 07, 2012
The world should tighten the squeeze on Iran over its "mad" nuclear plans to the point where the regime's survival is threatened by its own people, Britain's defence secretary said Sunday.
Philip Hammond told The Observer newspaper that there were signs the regime was beginning to "fracture" on the issue of its disputed nuclear programme.
The West worries Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb under cover of a civilian nuclear energy programme but Tehran insists its intentions are purely peaceful.
Hammond's comments come ahead of a meeting of European Union ministers on October 15, when Britain, France and Germany will press for toughening up sanctions on Iran's energy sector and financial institutions.
"There is talk of a general trade embargo and of shutting down the remaining access that Iran has to international banking channels. We can definitely make the pain much greater," he told the weekly.
"The only thing that is likely to budge the regime is if they see or sense an existential threat.
"If the level of economic pressure starts to translate into potentially regime-threatening disruption and dissent on the streets of Tehran, then they may change course."
In one week, Iran's rial currency has shed around 40 percent of its value, sharply accelerating a slide that has gone on over the course of this year as Western sanctions have worsened the Islamic republic's underlying economic woes.
"There is evidence that the leadership is beginning to fracture over this question. They are beginning to turn on each other as the pain gets transmitted through. And they can end it all instantly," Hammond said.
"Their professed position is that they're enriching uranium for peaceful purposes. Nobody believes them."
He stressed that nobody was out to cause more suffering for the Iranian people and said regime change was not the aim -- it was merely to apply the pressure needed to force Tehran to drop its nuclear programme.
"There is further tightening we can do," Hammond said.
"We can definitely make the pain much greater. Nobody wants to cause the Iranian people to suffer unnecessarily but this mad scheme to build a bomb has to be brought to an end."
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|