Iran General NewsBeckett: no-one intends to attack Iran

Beckett: no-one intends to attack Iran

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Daily Telegraph: Margaret Beckett has echoed her Foreign Office predecessor Jack Straw’s firm stance on Iran, insisting that no-one intends to take military action against the state. Daily Telegraph

Margaret Beckett has echoed her Foreign Office predecessor Jack Straw’s firm stance on Iran, insisting that no-one intends to take military action against the state.

But the new Foreign Secretary stopped short of adopting Mr Straw’s strong language on the subject.

Jack Straw went on record several times saying that a military strike on Iran was “inconceivable”, prompting speculation that he had been sacked because of his unequivocal stance.

Yesterday, Tony Blair dismissed such claims as “utterly absurd” and said he had no doubt that foreign policy would “not change one iota” under Mrs Beckett.

Asked whether she also believed a military strike on Iran was inconceivable, Mrs Beckett said: “You’re inviting me to tread down the path of talking about military action – I’m not going to do that.

“Everybody expresses their views, their stance, in their own way. The way that I choose to express it is that it’s not anybody’s intention to take the course of military action.

“That I think is simple and straightforward and clear.”

Just three days after getting the job she was thrown in at the diplomatic deep end, heading to New York for her first meeting with her American counterpart Condoleezza Rice and discussions with other foreign ministers aimed at finding a common approach towards Teheran.

Mrs Beckett said she, the American Secretary of State and their colleagues from France, Germany, Russia and China had not discussed the text of a proposed resolution demanding that Iran ends its uranium enrichment work – a key step in developing a nuclear bomb.

But she said they were all agreed that no-one wanted Iran to have nuclear weapons and that it should stop enrichment work.

Officials had a “good deal of work” to do when they come back to the negotiating table this morning to try to reach an agreement on a resolution, against the background of “clear common ground” on objectives, she added.

“What people are concerned to do is to get Iran to recognise the strong view and the clear will of the international community that they should comply with the IEAE (International Atomic Energy Agency) board.”

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