Israel joins Hague in raising temperature over Iran

As Tehran unveils the latest developments in its nuclear programme, the Israeli Defence Minister calls for 'crippling' sanctions

Israel joined the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in ratcheting up the pressure on Iran last night, calling for "crippling" sanctions on Tehran to force it to give up its nuclear programme. Israel's Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said a nuclear-armed Iran would trigger an arms race in the Middle East and ultimately pose a threat to the entire world.

The warning came hours after Mr Hague had claimed that Iran's nuclear ambitions could plunge the Middle East into "a new Cold War". Mr Hague told The Daily Telegraph: "If [the Iranians] obtain nuclear weapons capability, other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons," leading to "the most serious round of nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons were invented".

Tensions in the Middle East are already running high, with Israel accusing Iran of masterminding attacks on its embassies. Iran denies the allegations and blames Israel and the United States for assassinating several Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years.

Mr Barak added to the tensions yesterday, when he expressed frustration that four rounds of UN sanctions had failed to halt Iran's uranium enrichment programme. On a visit to Tokyo, he said: "We have to [speed up] imposing sanctions and make them crippling to such an extent that the leadership ... will be compelled to sit down and ask themselves 'are we ready to pay the price of isolation from most, if not all, of the world?'"

On Wednesday, Iran unveiled new developments in its nuclear programme, declaring it had used domestically made nuclear fuel in a reactor for the first time. Yesterday, after extensive naval manoeuvres in the region, Iranian warships entered the Mediterranean for only the second time since the 1979 revolution.

But experts urged governments last night to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to lead the investigations. Sir Richard Dalton, a former UK ambassador to Iran, said: "It is wrong to say that Iran is rushing towards having a nuclear weapon.

"But," he added, "it is right that the IAEA should press Iran on behalf of the international community to answer fully questions about what it has been up to in the past and what it may still be doing in the present." The shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, said: "Instead of raising the rhetoric, the Government should be focused on redoubling their efforts to increase the diplomatic pressure on Iran and find a peaceful solution to the issue."

On Friday, US and European Union leaders were optimistic about resuming talks with Iran. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said a letter from Iran to the US and its allies was "one we have been waiting for".

Talks between Iran and six world powers – the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – on Tehran's nuclear programme collapsed a year ago. In recent months, Western countries have stepped up pressure on Iran over the nuclear issue, with the EU and US both introducing wide-ranging sanctions on the country. The US President, Barack Obama, emphasised this month that Israel and the US were working in "unison" to counter Iran.

Mr Hague told the Telegraph that Britain has urged Israel not to strike. He said: "We support a twin-track strategy of sanctions... and negotiations," adding that a military attack would have "enormous downsides."

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Goalkeeping howler allows Man City to scrap a draw – but Premier League title is Liverpool's to lose
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Consultant – Building Management

up to £45,000 + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Green ...

Senior Industrial Energy Consultant

Up to £45,000 + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Green ...

Mechanical Building Services Energy Engineer

up to £45K basic + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Gr...

Building Services Energy Engineer

up to £45K basic + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Gr...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal