Hague warns Israel a strike on Iran wouldn't be wise

UK foreign secretary urges J'lem to give sanctions a chance, says if Iran develops nukes there will either be a war or a cold war, but warns Iranian nuclear standoff would not have safeguards of US-USSR Cold War.

February 19, 2012 18:26
1 minute read.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague

British Foreign Secretary William Hague 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Overs-BBC/handout)

While encouraging Israel to give Europe's latest round of sanctions a chance and discouraging it from hasty military action, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday that if Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, there will either be a war or a cold war.

"Either way, [Iran] will be attacked and there will be a war," Hauge told the BBC when asked if a nuclear-armed Iran would lead to a nuclear arms race in the region. The other option, he said, is that "there would be a cold war, in which Iran, for the long term, is subject to these kinds of very intense economic sanctions and they would find that other nations in the region developed nuclear weapons."

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Such a situation, he said, would lead to a permanent standoff in the Middle East, much like the Cold War. The difference, he warned, is that in the case of the Middle East and Iran, the hypothetical cold war would lack "many of the safeguards and the accidents and misunderstandings that we had in the Cold War."

The UK foreign minister also sent a warning to Jerusalem in the interview, saying he does not thing it is "the wise thing at this moment" for Israel to strike Iran militarily.

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Jerusalem and the rest of the world, Hague advised, should give a real chance to the European approach to preventing Iranian nuclear proliferation. Europe must succeed with its new program of "very serious economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure and the readiness to negotiate with Iran," he added.

Earlier in the weekend, Hague said Iran is clearly trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, in an interview published on Saturday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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