Friday, February 23, 2007

British officials fear US will attack Iran

Thu Feb 22, 7:09 PM ET

Senior British government officials fear that US President George W. Bush will attack Iran before his final term in office ends in a little less than two years time, a newspaper reported in an early Friday edition.

They fear that Bush will seek to "settle the Iranian question through military means," The Times reported, quoting unidentified senior British government sources.

"He (Bush) will not want to leave it unresolved for his successor," one of the sources told The Times.

The report follows comments made on Thursday by British Prime Minister Tony Blair who insisted there is "no planning" under way for an attack on Iran, and added that he knew of "nobody" in Washington who was planning an invasion either.

"You can't absolutely predict every set of circumstances that comes about but sitting here now talking to you, I can tell you Iran is not Iraq," Blair told BBC Radio.

"There is, as far as I know, no planning going on to make an attack on Iran and people are pursuing a diplomatic and political solution for a good reason -- that it is the only solution that anyone can think of as viable and sensible."

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett also said on Thursday that Britain remained committed to a negotiated solution and would now consult with its international partners to find a way to prevent Iran acquiring the means to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has failed to comply with a United Nations Security Council demand to halt uranium enrichment, according to a report issued by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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