The UK would not support an Israeli strike on Iran, British Prime Minister David Cameron said in an interview with NBC published Thursday.
"I don’t think as we stand today that military action by Israel would be justified." Cameron said. "I don’t think the Israelis should take that action now, we’ve told them they shouldn’t, and we’ve said that we wouldn’t support it if they did."
In a bid to dispel the idea that there might be a rift in Israel-UK relations, Cameron added that "we are a friend of Israel. Israel has a right to exist as a democratic state. It’s very important that Israel knows it has strong allies like America and like the United Kingdom."
That said, Cameron stressed that sanctions remain the preferred tactic for ending the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. "I don’t support action now because, frankly, we’ve got more road to run in putting in place sanctions, in putting in place tough measures against the Iranian regime."
"They can have civil nuclear power," he said. "If they give up their mission of having military nuclear power, they can have a future as a country that has normal relations with the rest of the world."
Asked whether he believes a policy of containment can and will work, Cameron responded with "I’m not arguing for containment. What I am arguing for is massive pressure."
Iran’s economy has been hit by rounds of European and US sanctions, causing instability in Tehran’s currency, the rial. On Thursday, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), which facilitates most international money transfers, announced that it would cut off Iranian banks to its system.
Despite heavy international sanctions, Tehran has shown no signs of reassessing its nuclear drive.
Cameron also said that a nuclear armed Iran would trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. He added that he understands strong Israeli sentiment regarding the Iranian nuclear program, and said that he sympathizes with it.
"We will not take any option off the table," Cameron said.