Clegg won't rule out strike on Iran

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, described the escalating situation in Iran as "grave" and said the British government would not rule out any action against the country.

Speaking during a visit to Manchester today (Thursday), Mr Clegg said: "This government believes, as many, if not most governments do around the world, that a nuclear armed Iran would be very bad for the world and bad for peace and stability in the world, and it would flout completely international opinion. There is near universal consensus around the world that that would be a bad thing".

He added: "It would flout countless UN resolutions and so we are completely committed to continue to apply pressure through sanctions and other means on Iran, in co-operation with the Americans and Europeans and others. But we also will engage with Iran, and say to them very clearly that if they give up nuclear weapons ambitions, and if what they want is a civil nuclear programme, we're prepared to work with them on that. That twin approach of pressure and engagement is something that we will continue - and indeed where we have stepped up the pressure because we want to see a negotiated solution. But as for other outcomes, clearly, you don't rule anything out in a situation as grave as this.

Echoing Mr Clegg's response, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:"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 conflict. We want a negotiated solution - but all options should be kept on the table."

Last updated: 4:36pm, November 3 2011