David Cameron today called on Israel not to launch a unilateral attack on Iran and give United Nations sanctions more time to force the regime to give up on its nuclear ambitions.
In a speech in London the Prime Minister said any military action against the country now would be counter-productive. But he warned that in the longer term – should the Iran fail to comply and give up on its nuclear programme - “nothing is off the table”.
Mr Cameron was speaking as the EU announced a further toughening of the sanctions regime against Iran which has already resulted in a collapse in the country’s currency and soaring inflation.
Speaking to the annual dinner of the United Jewish Israel Appeal Mr Cameron said there was credible evidence to suggest that the sanctions were have an impact “no one had expected”.
“I refuse to give in to those who say that the current policy is fatally flawed, and that we have no choice but military action,” he said.
“(As a result of sanctions) Iranian oil exports have fallen by 45 per cent. The Rial has plummeted and inflation is soaring. Most significantly, there are signs that the Iranian people are beginning to question the Regime’s strategy with even pro-regime groups protesting at the actions of the Government.”
“The Iranian regime is under unprecedented pressure and faces an acute dilemma. They are leading their people to global isolation and an economic collapse. And they know it.”
But Mr Cameron suggested if the sanctions regime failed to produce results a military strike could be a possibility in the future.
”I have said to Prime Minister Netanyahu that now is not the time for Israel to resort to military action. Beyond the unpredictable dangers inherent in any conflict, the other reason is this: at the very moment when the Regime faces unprecedented pressure and the people are on the streets; and when Iran’s only real ally in Syria is losing his grip on power, a foreign military strike is exactly the chance the Regime would look for to unite his people against a foreign enemy. We shouldn’t give them that chance.
“But let me also say this. In the long term, if Iran makes the wrong choice, nothing is off the table. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to Israel. And a threat to the world. And this country will work unwaveringly to prevent that from happening.“