British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Thursday that Britain wants to see a “nuclear-free Middle East,” saying now that action has been taken against Iraq and Libya, Iran and Israel remain the only two nations posing “potential threat.”
Speaking to Channel 4 Straw said: "If you want to see a nuclear-free Middle East, you've got to remove that threat from Iran, including the rhetorical threat to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Once you've done that, then we can get on to work in respect of Israel."
He added: "We in the international community defend Iran's right to peaceful nuclear power. That is not the issue. The issue is that they have got to bring themselves into compliance with obligations they voluntarily entered into and until they clarify their intentions, we don't believe it is safe for them to have full access to the nuclear cycle.
"It's a very different and separate issue from what the Iranians say, which is that we are trying to deny them nuclear electric power. We are not."
Bush: Iran grave security concern
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush on Friday called Iran an issue of "grave national security concern" and said he wanted a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Bush said U.S. concerns were the result of Iran's stated desire to destroy Israel and the U.S. belief that Tehran wants to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian power generation.
"Therefore it's very important for the United States to continue to work with others to solve these issues diplomatically, deal with these threats today," Bush told a newspaper group.