UK rules out preemptive strike on Iran
UK Defense Secretary Philip Hammond
The British Defense Secretary says London is against preemptive military action against Iran as it will threaten the global economic growth by disrupting oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz.
Addressing a conference on "NATO and the Case for Collective Defense in the 21st Century" at Atlantic Council in Washington, Philip Hammond noted, “We would not be in favor of a preemptive strike on Iran.”
"It is in all our interests that the arteries of global trade are kept free, open and running,” he added.
Hammond emphasized that the disruption of oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz would threaten regional and global economic growth.
The British minister added that his government follows "a strategy of pressure and engagement with Iran,” which is similar to the Obama administration's approach in its early days in office.
He said that in line with that strategy, the British government has “largely, and quite reasonably, put the engagement half of that [strategy] on the back burner.
Hammond said that despite the saber-rattling and talk about a nuclear Iran being unacceptable, the military option has merely theoretically been on the table in the past years with regards to Iran.
He stressed that “It would seem obviously in the interests of all concerned to avoid war in Iran.”
On Saturday, December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran's Central Bank requiring foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran's Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
Iran has warned that it can respond to the proposed Western oil sanctions and threats against the Islamic Republic by choking the oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi said on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, that the imposition of oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic will prompt Tehran to prevent oil cargoes from passing through the strategic route.
“If they impose sanctions on Iran's oil, not even a drop of oil will be allowed through the Strait of Hormuz,” he added.
Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari also announced on December 30 that the country's naval forces can readily block the strategic Strait of Hormuz if need be.
“Our (Iran's) intention is to bring stability and security to the region and we would like to show everyone that we can provide the security of the region without needing extra-regional powers,” he said.