Iran Seeking "Intercontinental Missile," British Leader Says

Iran is seeking to build "some sort of intercontinental missile capability," raising the stakes in the standoff over a suspected Iranian effort to assemble a nuclear bomb, the London Daily Mail quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron as saying on Tuesday (see GSN, Feb. 24).

The United Kingdom, Israel and other governments have expressed concern over Iranian activities with nuclear-weapon development applications (see related GSN story, today). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said his country cannot "afford to wait much longer" for multilateral pressure and outreach to resolve the matter (see GSN, March 6).

Speaking to British lawmakers, Cameron said he does not "believe that an Iranian nuclear weapon is just a threat to Israel.

"It is also clearly very dangerous for the region because it would trigger a nuclear arms race but also it’s a danger more broadly, not least because there are signs that the Iranians want to have some sort of intercontinental missile capability. So we have to be clear this is potentially a threat much more widely," he said.

Hours earlier, Secret Intelligence Service head John Sawers and national security adviser Kim Darroch had given British Cabinet Officials a private presentation on dangers from Iran.

Prior to Cameron's remarks on Tuesday, no top official in the United Kingdom had indicated Iran could eventually acquire necessary means to employ unencumbered force against the British homeland, according to the Daily Mail. ICBMs are generally considered to be capable of delivering warheads to destinations at least 3,500 miles away; the distance between the Iranian and British capitals is 2,740 miles, the newspaper noted.

Iranian missiles in the past were considered capable of striking targets at a distance of no more than roughly 1,500, the Daily Mail reported (Jason Groves, London Daily Mail, March 7).

March 7, 2012
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Iran is seeking to build "some sort of intercontinental missile capability," raising the stakes in the standoff over a suspected Iranian effort to assemble a nuclear bomb, the London Daily Mail quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron as saying on Tuesday.

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