UK daily sees Blair-Straw split on Iran
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
London, Sept 20, IRNA
A serious rift has opened between Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over whether to retain the threat of military action against Iran if it refuses to halt its nuclear programme, according to a leading right-wing newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph, which strongly supports Israel, said Tuesday that it had detected Downing Street distancing itself from the Foreign Secretary a day after Straw declared that the crisis "will not be resolved by military means."
Blair's office was said to have "lined up behind" US President George W. Bush, who has made clear that "all options are on the table" while wanting a diplomatic solution and insisting there are no plans to use force.
The Telegraph said that the Foreign Office made no attempt to hide the disagreement, with a senior official insisting that "Jack's view is clear" and that "military action is inconceivable."
Earlier, the Prime Minister's official spokesman played down any suggestion of a split but, when asked about the difference between Straw's views and those of the US President, he emphasised that Blair agreed with Bush.
The spokesman referred all the way back to May when he repeated that the premier insisted that Bush was "very sensible" in saying he was not taking any options off the table, yet saying nobody is talking about invasions of Iran or military action against Iran.
The Blair-Straw disagreement was said to reflect a long-running difference of emphasis over Middle East policy and in relations with the US.
The daily said Straw, who is known to have had severe reservations about sending British troops to Iraq without a second UN resolution, believed that even the threat of action is making it more difficult to convince Russia and others to support referring Iran to the UN.
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