Just came across this interview from July, with the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. He makes some curious points.
Well Israel, India and Pakistan are not signatories to the Non Proliferation Treaty. We want and very powerfully committed to a nuclear free Middle East but that has to happen in order. We now have a nuclear free Mahgreb with the decision by the leader of Libya to abandon their nuclear weapons’ programme. We also have a nuclear free Iraq. Iran and, and I have made this point on a number of occasions to President Khatami of Iran also needs to abandon its aggressive stance towards Israel. The fact that for example on national day parades they have three missiles with the legend written in English on the side death to Israel. Now this aggressive stance to Israel is bound to mean that Israel is going to take or seek to take steps to protect itself from annihilation.
Well no one’s threatening Iran’s territorial integrity, no one is saying that Iran should not exist. Israel’s territorial integrity I’m afraid is threatened. I don’t happen to approve of a lot of the actions which the government of Israel takes and I make that very clear but I also say that if you want a nuclear free Middle East then you have to ensure that first of all it is the Arab and Islamic countries which remove their threat to Israel and then we can put a great deal more pressure on Israel to abandon its undoubted nuclear weapons’ programme which has been there whether people like it or not for defensive purposes. But I also just make this point because Iran is in rather paradoxical position. On the one hand as you say it may feel threatened by the presence of American, United Kingdom and other coalition troops on both its eastern and its western borders in Afghanistan and in Iraq but the paradox of our liberation of Afghanistan and our liberation of Iraq from Saddam is actually to make the Iranian position much stronger. Before they were threatened by Iraq and to a degree by the instability in Afghanistan.
But perhaps most curiously:
No one has any intention of launching military action against Iran. Iran has said itself that it does not want nuclear weapons nor in terms of regional stability does it have any reasons to acquire them or build up a programme for them.
The fact that Iran is now bordered with two countries recently invaded by Western powers is an interesting one. I reckon we might see an effort by the US to see the regime in Iran fall, without the use of US forces to any large degree – they are pretty stretched as it is. But the use of Rumsfeld’s much loved light and quick special forces would also be a distinct possibility to halt the construction of Iranian nuclear facilities.