Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

UK defence chiefs prepare for conflict with Iran over nuclear programme

Ministry of Defence reluctantly planning for being drawn into a US-Israeli conflict with Iran over Tehran's possible nuclear arms

Ministers on Britain's National Security Council have been advised there is still a "25%-50% chance" that the nuclear stand-off with Iran could result in a military conflict, the Guardian has been told.

The risk assessment by the Foreign Office and MI6 reflects anxiety in Whitehall about the prospect of an attack from Israel, which has longstanding fears over Tehran's nuclear weapons ambitions.

This has also been causing consternation at the Ministry of Defence. The chief of the defence staff, General Sir David Richards, has been refining and updating a range of contingency plans for any potential British involvement either before or after an attack.

Although senior officers and defence officials admit privately they have "no appetite" for involvement in any campaign, and believe it can be avoided, they are aware of the political realities. The UK and the US have stated explicitly that they do not want Iran to have a nuclear bomb. "If America wants British help, it is difficult to imagine David Cameron saying 'no'," said one source. Read More