MPs warn against US attack on Iran

19 hours ago

A military strike against Iran is unlikely to succeed and could provoke a violent backlash across the region, MPs have warned.

The Commons foreign affairs committee urged the Government to use its influence with Washington to persuade the US administration to "engage" diplomatically with the Iranians over their controversial nuclear programme.

In its report, the committee acknowledged that Tehran had suspended work on developing a nuclear weapon in 2003, making American military action less likely.

"We remain of the view that such a military strike would be unlikely to succeed and could provoke an extremely violent backlash across the region," it said.

However, the committee also warned that existing international sanctions were "not sufficiently robust" to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment - a key step in acquiring a nuclear bomb.

If Tehran were to launch a crash weapons programme, there was a "strong possibility" that it could achieve a "breakout nuclear capability" by 2015, it said.

The committee said that best chance of achieving a peaceful resolution was a change of policy by the US to "engage directly" with the Iranians.

"We recommend that the Government urges Washington to consider offering a credible security guarantee to Iran if the Iranian government in turn will offer an equally credible and verifiable guarantee that it will not enter into a nuclear weapons programme and improves its co-operation with the international community in other areas," the report said.

It cautioned that further international sanctions against Iran were unlikely to be effective, and could inadvertently help the country's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by providing a "scapegoat" for his economic failings. ... D71pETX8Uw