British MPs: Military Strike on Iran Unlikely to Succeed

A0278904.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- A military strike against Iran would be unlikely to succeed and would only inflame tensions in the Middle East, an influential group of British MPs warned on Sunday.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee also recommended that British ministers urge their American counterparts to begin direct negotiations with Iran and consider offering it a security guarantee if it provides “credible and verifiable” assurances it will not manufacture nuclear weapons.

“A military strike would be unlikely to succeed and could provoke an extremely violent backlash across the region,” the committee said in its “Global Security: Iran” report.

“We recommend that the government urges Washington to consider offering a credible security guarantee to Iran if the Iranian government in turn will offer an equally credible and verifiable guarantee that it will not enter into a nuclear weapons program and improves its cooperation with the international community in other areas.”

The committee also called for ministers to push for Washington to “engage directly with Iran on its nuclear program, as the absence of such engagement has deprived the international community of a significant diplomatic tool.”

The United Nations Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran to punish Tehran for its progress in the field of nuclear technology, and is likely to approve a third set Monday.

The US is at odds with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one last Friday – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, Russia and China increased resistance to any new punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East earlier this month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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