Blair: Iran sponsors terrorism

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CNN: British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, and urged the Islamic republic to bow to EU demands to renounce its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. He also called on Tehran not to hamper peace efforts in the Middle East. Giving evidence to a UK parliamentary committee, Blair was asked if he shared U.S. President George W. Bush’s assessment of Tehran as the “world’s primary state sponsor of terror.” CNN

LONDON, England – British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, and urged the Islamic republic to bow to EU demands to renounce its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

He also called on Tehran not to hamper peace efforts in the Middle East.

Giving evidence to a UK parliamentary committee, Blair was asked if he shared U.S. President George W. Bush’s assessment of Tehran as the “world’s primary state sponsor of terror.”

The British PM replied: “It certainly does sponsor terrorism, there’s no doubt about that at all.

“I hope very much that if we can make progress in the Middle East, Iran realizes it’s got an obligation to help that, not hinder it.”

The UK’s Press Association reported that he was asked whether anybody would believe him if he said a military strike against Iran was needed because it possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Blair replied, according to PA: “I’m not saying that. I think it depends what the evidence base is.

“I don’t think it’s disputed that there is an issue to do with Iran and nuclear weapons capability. That’s why France and Germany have been working with the UK over it.”

The two countries have been involved in a joint initiative with Britain to persuade Iran to halt any nuclear programs with military potential in return for help with civil power projects.

Blair warned Iran and Syria not to assume it was in their interests to allow insurgents to cross into Iraq in order to weaken U.S. forces and reduce the chance of an attack on themselves.

“I think if they were to make that calculation it would be a very severe miscalculation,” he said, The Associated Press reported.