'Sanctions and force against Iran illogical and naive' – British MP

The West should accept Iran as a legitimate ‘regional superpower’ and drop ‘yesterdays’ rehashed policies of sanctions and military force, a British MP told RT.

­Talking to RT, John Baron, the only UK Conservative MP to vote against military action in Libya,  called the potential use of force against Iran illogical and naive.” He further characterized the Western use of sanctions as “yesterday's failed policies.”

“Iran is not going to be deterred from pursuing its nuclear program,” he said. “It is illogical because we are keeping an option on the table which clearly inflames the situation. People know it would be a disaster if we pursued the option of force. It is not working – the Iranians have turned their mind against it, but at the same time it is an option which makes a peaceful outcome less likely.”

Baron’s motion to the UK government, however, was almost unanimously rejected amid fears Iran could strike first in the region. But, he argues, by taking the option of a peaceful resolution off the table, Britain only reduces regional tensions in the short term. The situation really needs a fresh approach from both sides, as many opportunities to better relations have already been lost.    

“After 9/11, Iran was one of the first to show solidarity with the US,” he says, “in contrast to many in the Middle East. Also in the early stages of the Afghan war, Iran made approaches. What was their reward? To be classed as part of the "Axis of Evil" by President Bush. This led directly to the removal of the reformist and moderate President Khatami.”

But, he also says Iran was also wrong to turn their back on President Obama’s initial overtures.

“I am not an apologist for Iran’s human rights record, or its sponsoring of terrorism overseas,” Baron said. “But we’ve got to view and judge it in a balanced way”.

The policy of sabre-rattling and sanctions against Iran has clearly failed, he added. 

“Iran is now toying with what it is – actually bringing forward an oil embargo which was imposed by the EU It certainly will bring it forward when it comes to France and the UK.”

Baron explained why it is so important for Iran to continue with its nuclear program – they see it as a means of expressing their power within the region. Status is important in the region, and the West is undermining this fact.  The reason Saddam Hussein, for example, did not deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction is because it was in his interest not to do so. A fresh approach to the regional situation should include an implicit recognition of Iran’s status as a regional superpower, he added.    

Baron also suggested that Tehran has demonstrated its intent to pursue its nuclear program regardless of sanctions. He therefore advises the West foster better relations with Iran and do what Nixon did with China – not deny the reality of the country’s power. The US therefore should do away with its antagonism towards Tehran.

The US is obviously the “elephant in the room,” he said, as it has continued to ignore the truth about Iran and other regional realities.   

“Meanwhile, Israel will not strike Iran if Washington objects, as it is not sure of its military capability to finish the job if it starts it,” he concluded.