The Guardian reports: The UK government has reiterated that it does not believe military action against Iran would be appropriate at the moment, following the disclosure that Britain has rebuffed US requests to use UK military bases to support the buildup of forces in the Gulf.
Downing Street said: “We are working closely with the US with regard to UK bases” but “the government does not think military action is the right course at this point of time”.
David Cameron made a lengthy speech last week urging Israel to show restraint, and pointing to the way in which sanctions are having an impact on the Iranian economy.
The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.
The US approaches are part of contingency planning over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, but British ministers have so far reacted coolly. On Friday, Downing Street said such contingency planning was something that was done as a matter of routine.
They have pointed US officials to legal advice drafted by the attorney general’s office and which has been circulated to Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.
It states that providing assistance to forces that could be involved in a pre-emptive strike would be a clear breach of international law on the basis that Iran, which has consistently denied it has plans to develop a nuclear weapon, does not currently represent “a clear and present threat”. [Continue reading…]