Iran Nuclear NewsBritain joins Bush in pressuring Iran

Britain joins Bush in pressuring Iran

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ImageWashington Times: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a ringing endorsement of President Bush's pro-democracy agenda in the Middle East, and said he will increase British troop levels in Afghanistan.

The Washington Times

Offers small troop-level increase for allied fighting in Afghanistan

Jon Ward

ImageBritish Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a ringing endorsement of President Bush's pro-democracy agenda in the Middle East, and said he will increase British troop levels in Afghanistan.

Mr. Brown also announced new sanctions against Iran and urged the European Union to join Britain in freezing the assets of Iran's largest bank, Melli, which has been linked to Tehran's missile and nuclear efforts.

"Action will start today in a new phase of sanctions on oil and gas," Mr. Brown said at a joint press conference with Mr. Bush in London.

"We will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it needs to make."

At a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg, the EU did not act against the bank on Monday, but a spokeswoman said the 27-nation body was ready to do so soon.

Mr. Brown also agreed with Mr. Bush's oft-stated and oft-criticized view that democracy can be established in the Middle East.

"The passion for freedom I think is a universal value," Mr. Brown said.

About 4,000 British troops remain in southern Iraq. Britain's actual troop increase in Afghanistan will be small, from about 7,800 to 8,000, but Mr. Bush said he was thankful for Mr. Brown's support.

"He's tough on terror, and I appreciate it," Mr. Bush said of the British leader.

Robin Shepherd, an analyst at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, in London, said the two leaders may agree on policy, but Mr. Bush does not enjoy the personal rapport with Mr. Brown as with former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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