Iran General NewsBlair concerned by Iran's direction

Blair concerned by Iran’s direction

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Press Association: Tony Blair has voiced “real, genuine” concerns over the direction Iran is taking.
The Prime Minister said the rogue state’s nuclear programme, support for terrorism and “meddling” in Iraq were all worries. Press Association

Tony Blair has voiced “real, genuine” concerns over the direction Iran is taking.

The Prime Minister said the rogue state’s nuclear programme, support for terrorism and “meddling” in Iraq were all worries.

“On each of those three issues we have real, genuine cause for concern,” the Prime Minister said. “Now no one is talking military action or any of the rest of it. Iran is a quite different country in many, many ways and it may well be that the change in Iran comes from within, ultimately. But it is a concern and a worry because they are a powerful country with a large part of the world’s energy resources at their disposal.”

Mr Blair led international condemnation for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map.

The Prime Minister told a committee of senior backbench MPs that recent events in Iran “don’t exactly augur well”.

“Things have definitely got more difficult since the election of the new president, and we have to be honest about that,” he told them.

But discussions between Tehran and the “EU three” – Britain, Germany and France – on Iran’s nuclear obligations were continuing “to an extent”, Mr Blair said.

If Iran were to develop a military nuclear capability, it would be “a very serious threat to world stability and peace”, warned Mr Blair.

The long term goal had to be the spread of democracy and human rights in the Middle East, he continued. “If you get that you will change a lot with the security and other problems we have in the world today.”

Mr Blair added: “I think for far too many of these regimes in the Middle East, they entered into a kind of unspoken pact with their people, with parts of their civic society where, in return for very low levels of political and human rights, you ended up with a religious extremist element being given its head. And I think that is what we are living with.”

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