PM: Strong sanctions against Iran will make military action less likely

Brown: If Teheran rejects engagement offer, stepping up sanctions must be world priority.

netanyahu london flag 248.88 (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
netanyahu london flag 248.88
(photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
LONDON - The stronger the sanctions the international community applies against Iran today, the less likely there will be a need for "stronger force" tomorrow, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday regarding possible military action if Iran does not stop its nuclear weapons program. Standing next to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a press conference following their meeting, Netanyahu said "time is running out" on attempts to halt Iran through diplomatic means. "It is late in the day, but it is not too late," he said. Brown, meanwhile, said if the Iranians did not grasp US President Barack Obama's proposal for engagement and there was no "further progress immediately," then the world would have to look at "stepping up sanctions against Iran as a matter of priority." Netanyahu said the recent elections and their bloody aftermath in Iran showed the world Iran was susceptible to pressure . "It is far weaker than meets the eyes," Netanyahu said of the regime in Teheran, and "if the resolve of the responsible members of the international community is strong and firm, the future can be secure. This is our preference. I think the stronger those actions, those sanctions, are today, the less there will be a need for stronger actions tomorrow." Brown said Britain shared Israel's concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions. "While neither the region nor the world had anything to fear from a civilian nuclear program in Iran," he said, "Iran's actions do not make their arguments convincing. Iran needs to cooperate with the international community to take up President Barack Obama's unprecedented offer for engagement. Until then the international community will continue to view Iranian ambitions with suspicion." Brown, who said an Iranian decision to go forward with a nuclear program would have "profound significance" for the world, said the country had the choice of either "working with the international community" and gaining access to civilian nuclear power, or finding itself "ostracized and excluded." Brown, reiterating Obama's past remarks, said there was a need to "leave open every option" in dealing with Iran.