The UK would not support Israel if it decided to launch a strike against Iran, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams aired last night, Cameron said his government had warned the Israelis against taking military action in a bid to prevent Iran potentially developing nuclear weapons.
"I don't think as we stand today that military action by Israel would be justified," Cameron said. "I don't think the Israelis should take that action now. We told them they shouldn't and said we wouldn't support it if they did."
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Instead, the prime minister advocated a combination of sanctions and incentives to convince Tehran not to pursue nuclear weapons – including allowing them nuclear power plants.
"They can have civil nuclear power, if they give up the ambition of having military nuclear power, they can have a future as a country that has more normal relations with the rest of the world. We need to keep up the pressure to encourage them to make the right choice."
However, Cameron warned, "we take nothing off the table." Britain would not rule out military action altogether, he said, depending on how the situation develops.
His comments echo those of US President Barack Obama, who has said that no option is off the table when it comes to preventing Iran becoming nuclear-armed, but advocated political rather than military pressure first.
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Iran would ultimately be willing to give "full transparency" on its nuclear program with "permanent human monitoring," Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told CNN in an interview also aired yesterday. In exchange, Tehran demands the full rights allowed signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
"The Western community can ask us for more transparency," Larijani said. "What we want in place of that is cooperation."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that his country could be willing to act without its allies to stop what it perceives as an urgent nuclear threat.
"An Israeli prime minister can not hand over the ability to act against this threat [of a nuclear-armed Iran] to others," Netanyahu told parliament earlier this week, Haaretz reported.