Gordon Brown turned up the heat on Iran this week by threatening serious consequences if the country did not comply with US demands to ditch its nuclear programme.
“Iran should be in no doubt about our seriousness of purpose,” he warned in a speech on Monday evening. Britain would champion tougher sanctions against Iran, he added, aimed at blocking Western investment in the country’s oil and gas industries.
By calling for intensified sanctions against Iran, Brown is joining a growing chorus of voices threatening the country. And these sanction threats can easily spill over into military action – just as they did when Iraq was harried over its supposed weapons of mass destruction.
George Bush’s administration backs sanctions against Iran, but has always insisted that military action remains a live option. The US has sent a nuclear powered aircraft carrier carrying 2,500 Marines to the Persian Gulf, accompanied by nuclear submarines.
Brown has also persistently refused to rule out backing airstrikes or worse against Iran. “I don’t think we would ever rule out a military option,” the prime minister’s official spokesperson said earlier this week.
US officials and intelligence services have repeatedly spread claims that Iran is behind the resistance in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. With staggering hypocrisy, they denounce Iran for intervening in these countries – something they believe they alone have the right to do!
Brown is not alone among European leaders in rushing to Bush’s aid. The French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel have both visited Bush in recent weeks and committed themselves to stronger sanctions against Iran.
Not to be outdone by Sarkozy or Merkel, Brown this week restated his belief that the US remains Britain’s “most important” ally. “It is no secret that I have been a lifelong admirer of the US,” he said.
All of this gives added importance to the two days of action next week called by the Stop the War Coalition to campaign against any strike on Iran. We must not let Brown follow his predecessor down the road of another disastrous war in the Middle East.