UK refuses to rule out Iran action

THE UK wants a negotiated solution over Iran’s nuclear programme but “all options are on the table”, Downing Street has said.

Officials yesterday attempted to play down claims that the Ministry of Defence is planning for potential military action, insisting the UK’s position “has not changed”.

The revelation comes amid growing concerns about the state’s weapons capability and warnings from US President Barack Obama that Iran continues to pose a threat.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The US leader reportedly wants to avoid any military action before next year’s presidential election but intelligence from the International Atomic Energy Agency due later this month is expected to show fresh evidence about nuclear arms experiments.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Our position on Iran has not changed, the policy has not changed.

“The British government believes that a dual-track strategy of pressure and engagement is the best approach to address the threat from Iran’s nuclear programme and avoid regional conflicts. We want a negotiated solution but all options should be kept on the table. It is not what we are advocating, any military action.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing his cabinet to back a military strike over the suspected weapons programme.

General Hasan Firouzabadi, Iran’s military chief, warned that the state would retaliate fiercely.