British Prime Minister warns Iran
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Iran on Monday it must freeze sensitive nuclear work or face more sanctions, in the first address by a British premier to the Israeli parliament.
He also railed against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "abhorrent" threats against Israel and declared that Britain stands alongside the Jewish state. Brown, according to AFP, said peace was within their grasp, but only if Israel withdraws from settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Palestinians stamp out "terrorists".
"Iran now has a clear choice to make: suspend its nuclear programme and accept our offer of negotiations or face growing isolation and the collective response not of just one nation but of all nations round the world," Brown conveyed. "Just as we have led the work on three mandatory sanctions resolutions of the UN, the UK will continue to lead -- with the United States and our European Union partners -- in our determination to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons programme."
On his part, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel "highly appreciates" Brown's "determination... (on the) issue of terrorism and Iranian nuclear armament. "The most serious threat for stability in the Middle East and the global peace is rooted in... (Holocaust) will not be repeated," she said.
Brown's spokesman said the premier did not rule out "extended sanctions in some form on the oil and gas sector" in Iran, OPEC's number two producer.
"Our focus at the moment is on strengthening the sanctions regime to keep up the pressure on Iran," he said.
In his speech, Brown also took on Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly attacked Israel's right to exist and said its arch-foe should be wiped off the map. "To those who question Israel's very right to exist, and threaten the lives of your citizens through terror, we say: the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security," he said.
"And to those who believe that threatening statements fall upon indifferent ears, we say in one voice: it is totally abhorrent for the president of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world." He added: "Let me tell the people of Israel today: Britain is your true friend."
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