Iran nuclear-programme could start cold war: Hague

February 18th, 2012 - 11:49 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 18 (IANS) If Iran acquires nuclear weapons it could lead to a new cold war in the Middle East, a former British foreign secretary has warned.

The world would face the most serious round of nuclear proliferation since the invention of the atomic bomb, the Guardian newspaper Saturday quoted William Hague as saying.

His comments come as officials in Washington expressed fears that Iran is ignoring economic sanctions, increasing the likelihood of Israel and or the US attacking the Islamic Republic this year.

Hague insisted that Britain did not currently support military action against Iran but added “all options must remain on the table”.

“(The Iranians) are clearly continuing their nuclear weapons programme,” Hague told the Daily Telegraph. “If they obtain nuclear weapons capability, then I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons.”

Hague’s desire to give economic sanctions time to work is reflected in Washington. However, officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme.

They believe the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed this week that Iran had loaded its first domestically-made fuel rod into a nuclear reactor, and he also threatened to cut oil supplies to six European countries. This was read as further evidence that Tehran remains defiantly committed to its nuclear programme, the newspaper added.

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