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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK backed Saddam's war against Iran, former premier admits

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 2, IRNA -- Sir John Major has become the first former British prime minister to openly admit that the UK government supported Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s eight year war against Iran.

“Indeed in earlier years we had actually supported Saddam Hussein when he was fighting against Iran,” said Major, who served as prime minister between 1990 and 1997.

During his tenure, the former prime minister also commissioned the inquiry into the arms-for-Iraq, which exposed that the UK breached its own guidelines in supplying military equipment to Saddam’s regime at a time when the government’s policy was supposed to be neutral in the war.

Major, who also served as foreign secretary before becoming prime minister, confirmed the UK’s support for Iraq’s war in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, while criticising the way his successor Tony Blair led Britain to invade Iraq in 2003.

In 2002 Foreign Secretary Jack Straw become the first British minister to acknowledge in hindsight that it was a mistake for the UK and western countries to have supported Saddam’s war against Iran.

"In the 1980s, many in the West, guided by the principle that 'my enemy's enemy is my friend', saw Saddam as a useful ally against the threat of revolutionary radicalism from Iran," Straw said when launching a pamphlet on the implications of the 9/11 attacks on the US.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain admitted in 2000 that it was wrong for the British government to have backed the Pahlavi dynasty against the tide of the Islamic Revolution.

"Under the Shah, Britain played a very bad role, propping up and supporting a dictator," Hain said.

He told the Muslim News that because of the mistake Britain had a "very special role" in ensuring Islamic Iran takes its rightful place as a respected member of the international community.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 873868



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