Military action against Iran could have disastrous global consequences according to a new report published today by 15 organisations including Christian Solidarity Wordwide, Pax Christi, aid agencies and trade unions. On the first anniversary of Iran's referral to the Security Council, the report warns that, despite the seriousness of the situation, there is still 'time to talk' This must be used to avoid an escalation with potentially disastrous consequences. Sir Richard Dalton, UK Ambassador to Iran 2002-2006, who will be speaking at the launch of the report said: "After three years in Iran, I am well aware of the threat Iran poses and of the frustrations of engagement. I also know that firmness, patience and a commitment to diplomacy offer the best chance of success. Given Iranian defiance of the Security Council, there is bound to be a break in the negotiations on the nuclear issue. But both sides should work for a resumption. It is vital that the US becomes fully involved in creative diplomacy. Recourse to military action - other than in legitimate self-defence - is not only unlikely to work but would be a disaster for Iran, the region and quite possibly the world." The report urges the UK government to work with allies in a sustained effort to find a diplomatic solution. In particular, they should push for: - Face to face talks between Iran and the US - A compromise on the suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition for negotiation - Further development of a 'grand bargain' in which the EU offer of June 2006 is developed further to include security guarantees between Israel, Iran and the US. "The consequences of military action against Iran are not only unpalatable, they are unthinkable. Even according to the worst estimates, Iran is still years away from having a nuclear weapon. There is still time to talk and the Prime Minister must make sure our allies use it," said Stephen Twigg, Director of the Foreign Policy Centre. The report warns that, military action against Iran could further jeopardise the prospects of peace taking root in the Middle East and lead to severe destabilisation throughout the region. It points out that it would cause significant civilian casualties; push developing countries into greater poverty; damage UK, US and European economies and threaten serious environmental contamination. "A military attack on Iran could add yet more human misery to a region where nearly 70 million people are already suffering from the effects of conflict and war," said Adam Leach, Oxfam GB's Regional Director for the Middle East. "I think our decision makers have yet to appreciate the full consequences of a military attack against Iran. As this report shows such an attack would open a Pandora's box. The view held by some in Washington that all diplomatic and political options have been exhausted is a palpable nonsense that needs to be challenged," said Dr Ali Ansari, Director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at St Andrews University. The Coalition includes: Amicus, Amos Trust, British Muslim Forum, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Foreign Policy Centre, GMB, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Medact, Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Parliament, Ockenden International, Oxfam, Oxford Research Group, Pax Christi, PCS, People and Planet, Unison. Source: Pax Christi
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