Was Tony Blair right to warn Iran not to interfere in Iraq?
Mr Blair said that Iran appeared to be linked to several recent attacks in which eight British troops have died, although he added there was no conclusive evidence of the country's involvement.
He also warned there was "no justification" for Iran or any other country
to interfere in Iraq.
Iranian authorities have already denied the allegations, and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, said they were "baseless".
Should Mr Blair have made such remarks publicly? Will his warning put further strain on the already tense relations between Iran and the West?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion received so far:
The governments of Iran and Syria have checkmated the US and British. Iran was never happy to see US and British forces in the region and 'watched the show' as they wanted Saddam out. It is in their interest to create divisions. If Mr. Blair has any indisputable evidence, he should go public in the UN. This could change the stance of Russia and China and help the people of Iraq to know their enemy. Iraqi people want to live in peace in a country governed by them.
As an Iranian who doesn't support the government in Iran, I have to say how Ironic! He says this with a straight face! Did he have justification to invade Iraq?
Fereydoon, Fishers, IN USA
It could be right, but I still have doubts about what our prime minister says. He has already made a mistake on going to war with Iraq.
Long overdue, but as they say better late than never. It is about time to show some firmness on Tehran's expansionist policy and support for terrorism.
Mark Hariri, London, UK
What's truly scary about this is that Iranian interference in Iraq is nothing new. Any soldier back from "the desert" could tell you that. I think this signals a major shift in coalition policy whereby the Iraq situation is uncontrollable and "Iran is to blame."
Blair warning Iran is hypocritical. He and the US invaded a sovereign nation without proven fact and he lectures other countries on what not to do? I just don't get it! Do as I say, not as I do...
Scott Thomas, La Valle, Wisconsin USA
The key statement here is "Iran appeared to be linked". Appeared is the key word. Where is the evidence to back up Mr Blair's claims? Hopefully it will not be from Niger.
Kathleen Galt, Athens Ohio, USA
Prime Minister Blair has every right to make the remarks and they are most likely true remarks, although highly hypocritical. I find particularly hypocrisy in his warning that not Iran or any other country is justified in interfering in Iraq while the UK has an army of occupation in Basra.
Rick James, Helsinki
As an Iraqi Kurd, grown up in Iran, I can confidently say that the regime in Iran is the most dangerous one in the region, maybe more than Saddam's regime was. In my opinion which I doubtless share with millions in Iran and elsewhere, Mr. Blair was absolutely right in his warning to Iran, the tension with Iran will get worse not because of his warning but because of goals the Islamic regime in Iran obviously follows.
Hiwa Afandi, Stockholm, Sweden
A strange statement coming from a leader of a country which invaded Iraq using 'false justification', no?
James Higgins, Rothesay, NB
No, Tony Blair was not right to accuse Iran without absolute proof. Sounds as if the Bush and Blair duo are in bed together yet again. I personally do not believe any of the rhetoric either give as they both lied to us about the Iraq war.
Yes, Blair was absolutely right to put Iran on notice. I am surprised at the specious comments that Iran should be allowed to interfere just because the UK and US are so clearly doing the same. The difference is that the UK and US are trying to help the Iraqi people attain freedom, while Iran is plainly trying to maintain the status quo of totalitarianism in the region.
Look who is talking, Blair wants to talk about evidence of interference in Iraq... The reality is that Britain and the USA are interfering not only in Iraq, but the whole world, including the Middle East. Raheel, Sweden
Raheel, Stockholm, Sweden
Blair was right. A clear message needs to be sent out that Iran's blatant support of terrorism will not be tolerated.
Al Johnson, London, UK
I laughed out loud when Blair claimed that the US and the UK were in Iraq under a UN mandate. I'll bet that's news to the UN. Why would the UN Secretary General label the invasion and occupation of Iraq as "illegal" if he was under the illusion that the UN had provided some form of a mandate for these criminal actions? Iran has more to lose by not dealing with the mess that the US and the UK has made of their next door neighbour. Blair's hypocrisy just makes me vomit.
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand
No. Mr. Blair's warning predictably followed the US approach. The fact is that the Iraqis of Basra do not want to be under an army of occupation. They will take help from anybody who will provide it. The best thing for the UK and the US to do is get out. Iraq has never after all exported terrorism... so why not just leave?
Joseph DeBor, Arlington, Virginia, USA
Yes. Iran is a terrorist country that enslaves its own women. The government there needs to be warned that its days are numbered, you can't be nice to murderers - they don't get it.
Matt, Bellevue, WA, USA
What Mr Blair says is his responsibility. Unfortunately since the invasion of Iraq he has shown little capacity for being or acting in a responsible manner. He should better have real evidence for his accusations, and let's hope they are not like the ones he presented before he helped invade Iraq for the purpose of interfering in another country's affairs!
Typical of the British and American governments to go on the attack against others in order to hide their misgivings. Point blank everything happening in Iraq happened as a result of a war started by these two governments. Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your actions.
Mohammad, Ottawa, Canada
Blair is "wrong" and like Bush he chooses not to remember anti-terrorism assistance that they both got from Iran, especially after 9/11. Besides, two months ago, you at BBC were reporting that "Iranian interference" didn't exist and your commander of British troops in Iraq was saying Iran wasn't "interfering" during a special teleconference link to reporters in the Pentagon. I think this change of rhetoric and false accusations that the UK has started, fantasizing that this will apply additional pressure on Iran over uranium enrichment, isn't going to accomplish anything positive.
Hasan Hussein, Cincinnati, USA
Blair and Bush spend a lot of time together and it's only natural they pick up each others characteristics. Blair, realizing that Bush and his administration have made numerous lies to gain support and are still in power, decided to use the same method. Evidence isn't necessary when the majority of your nation believes every word you say anyways.
Bilal Sultan, New York, USA
Blair is as we know a liar just like George W Bush, He is defending his fellow American allies and now this is nothing but a political tactic to try and find more excuses to invade Iran. Surely now people are sceptical about their plans and the more excuses the British and Americans have about Iran the more people are aware of what they are trying to do. This is nothing but world domination from evil governments who are filled with greed and fame. I can only say, let us see how the devils get on with their work and May God punish these devils. God bless the good and kind hearted people of this world. Amen.
I have a terrible, terrible feeling that Blair is building a scenario to justify military action against Iraq.
While I am not a fan of Blair's ironic statement that there was "no justification for Iran or any other country to interfere in Iraq", Mr. Blair is in reality doing his job: trying to protect the people of his country. The British troops deserve that protection.
Suzanne, Atlanta, US
Look, everyone knows that we have to take out the political heads of state in Iran that support those terrorist that mean us harm. At a certain point even clueless leaders understand that to threaten or aid an attack against the US or UK means a fall from power. Ask Saddam and the Taliban. Korea should take note. Terrorism is starving you. Join the free world and prosper.
Joe Pepe, New York City USA
We ought not be surprised. It's classic preposterous Blair and Bush distraction in action. Unfortunately, their evident joint deficient Transatlantic policies in Iraq now find them scurrying deeper in the pile for specious arguments to proffer as further justification for their brazen arrogance. Shall they ever learn? They might have fooled some of us once, shame on them. Fool us twice? well that's a horse of another colour.
Michael Mundy, Coral Gables, FL (US)
As per usual, the international left is out in full force to defend Iran's despotic regime. I guess the belief that an enemy (in this case Iran) of an enemy (in this case the Western World) is a friend holds true in this instance. Mr. Blair is absolutely right to warn Iran, it has been obvious that the regime has been propping up the terrorists (excuse me: "free fighters," "militants" or whatever the left calls those guys nowadays) who are working to undermine democracy in Iraq. The Iranian regime has been the source of problems for two years now, I only wish we had brought them to account sooner.
Colin Keesee, Moorpark,CA,USA
Bush spoke for 30 minutes today carefully outlining the threat these terrorists pose, their agenda and the risk we take in not combating the threat. It will of course have been diluted down to perhaps a minutes soundbites in the various nightly news programmes in Britain, and probably presented out of context. That's a shame because it was one of the more thoughtful, insightful presentations on the subject. On either side of the divide on the Iraqi war to deny the involvement of Iran in Islamic terrorism is to suspend reality. As to 'putting further strain on relations", which side has ignored the UN on nuclear enrichment, supports Islamic terrorists with cash and weaponry, just voted in a new hardliner and has a very traceable hand in violence in Iraq? Iran. So who is putting the strain on?
The world will be a better place only when Bush and his puddle Blair leaves power. Opening another wound makes no sense as they cannot even bandage a finger.
Ibram Bak.(IB), UK
Well, all Blair has done is state the obvious. The Iranians have a stake in seeing democracy in Iraq fail, because when it succeeds this ripple of hope will reverberate into Iran as well.
What type of competent world leader would blurt out this kind of inflammatory rhetoric without proper evidence and justification? I thought the only political figure from the G8 like that was Gov. Bush, but after seeing the media attack blitz against Iran this week, England's prime minister is either in with the PNAC (project for a new American century) plan, or he's suffering from second hand exposure to stupidity.
Jason Brown, North Bergen, NJ (US)
Blair is warning Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs? How ironic! How does Blair plan to stop the Iranian influence in Iraq? The Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is the most powerful figurehead in Iraq and he's Iranian. Blair is playing a game he cannot win! The war in Iraq has created a country divided by religion and ethnicity. Alienate the Shias and lose the war!
The war in Iraq has created a country divided by religion and ethnicity. Alienate the Shias and lose the war!
Vajid Ali, Birmingham
Can Mr. Blair be trusted? He misled his people and the world on WMDs in Iraq. How can we be sure that he is not once again promoting Mr. Bush's agenda? At least I don't trust Mr. Blair, although at one point he was one of my favourite leaders - not any longer, unfortunately.
Chris Rosenbloom, Dover, MA, USA
I don't think he should be giving out warnings any more, as the whole world can see he can do nothing now. This war has overgrown Blair and Bush and has now begun to take a momentum of its own. He really has lost the plot.
Was he wrong? How long are we going to sit back and let these Islamic militants with a warped sense of reality aid and abet terrorism? So sorry, how insensitive of me, of course they need counselling.
Jim Hammond, Uk
Making such a statement when one says there is no certainty regarding the allegation is foolish at best.
Carter, Dallas, Texas
Darn right he was correct. It is obvious Iran is helping to perpetuate the situation. This needed to be addressed.
If there is "no justification" for Iran or "any other country" to interfere in Iraq, then what is the UK doing in Iraq? The USA and the UK are solely responsible for misleading the world and attacking a sovereign country and now we have this enormous mess to deal with where poor Iraqis are being cut down everyday. As far as Iran goes, without any concrete evidence such allegations are most irresponsible and baseless to say the least. I can't believe that we now have to be subjected to a whole new set of lies to somehow convince the world that Iran needs to be the next target. If the Iranians have sympathisers in Iraq it is because they share a very strong bond with majority Shias, and that in no way constitutes a hand in these attacks.
Aneel Chowdhary, Calgary, Canada
The warning sound very hollow. It seems like another crying wolf given the WMD deception in Iraq by Blair. Besides, isn't England interfering in Iraq in the first place? Blair just wants to pressure Iran for not processing nuclear fuel.
Jim Baker, Boston, USA
Mr Blair should take his own advice and stop meddling in Iraqi affairs.
Aamir Ali, Peshawar, Pakistan
The US and the UK have interfered in Iraq more than any other country has in recent years, we are an invading force. This is like the lead up to the invasion of Iraq all over again. If there is no plausible reason, let's find one. It is such a surprise that weapons from Iran show up in Iraq? Were they sold to Iraq at some point in the past? They are neighbours after all. How many countries could weapons sold by Britain be found in? The fingers are being pointed out again, instead of a cold hard look inside.
M. Clark, UK/US
Mr. Blair was absolutely right to issue Iran a warning. The EU, and in particular Great Britain, have had pretty good ties with Iran over the last few decades. If Iran starts losing more friendly governments in the West, then the Iranian government could be in for some very tough times in the future. Iraq has enough hardships as it is. Stay out Iran, you will only make things worse!
Brian Quinn, Pittsburgh, USA
He might be right about the warning but his warning has no punch without any evidence. It is hard to believe that Shia Iran would help Sunni Arabs with their attacks against a friendly Shia government! But then again, Iran might do anything to humiliate or hurt UK and the United States! PM Blair's comment might have been nothing but frustration with the overall situation in Iraq. Regardless, it is the Iraqi people who are paying the price for cynical policies of Iran, the United States and Great Britain!
Koz Khosravani, Los Angels, California
So Mr. Blair is pointing a gun at Iran. I imagine his "intelligence" comes from the same irrefutable sources as those that guaranteed the existence of "weapons of mass destruction". It strikes me as odd that he is now jumping onto Mr. Bush's bandwagonż the US administration (Mr Bush at least) is hot to start another war. So, is Tony the trained puppy dog along for the ride again?
Paul Aparycki, Quebec, Canada
Any war on terror that does not gut Iran is a half-hearted, dangerous farce that will come back to bite us in the backside. if we don't remove the Iranian regime, our children will surely have to. Is 10 years long enough for Iran to develop working nuclear weapons?
David, Bakersfield, Ca. USA
It appears that this is part of the larger plan to set the stage to put pressure on Iran. It is interesting that UK is asking Iran, a neighbouring country not to interfere, but at the same time justify sending troops across the world.
Yes, if British lives are at risk then he should warn Iran. The Insurgents must be getting help from somewhere; they are using very sophisticated explosives design to enter modern armour. If lives are at risk, then being polite should go out the window. My opinion of Tony Blair has gone up since he has made his statement.
Dave Gardener, Surrey UK
Daft question. It's like saying was a rapist right to complain when a thief steals his balaclava. No sense whatsoever. Stupid man!
This is just a precursor to the invasion of Iran that Bush and Blair are planning. Obviously he has not proof - just like he had no proof about Saddam's alleged WMD. Blair says that there was no justification for Iran or any other country to interfere in Iraq. So what exactly are the British and the Americans doing there? I think it is sickening how Bush and Blair sow the seeds of war.
Nick, London, UK
Well let's hope his "intelligence" is right this time. Problem is - he has no evidence by his own admission! He has lost touch with the real world and should be removed by his own party. Iraq is his Munich or Suez and he can never change that.
The level of audacity is beyond words... when an occupier, whose soldiers are deeply involved in regular mistreatment of the Iraqis, start trying such transparent diversion of attention for their failures... but Iran seems to be the punching bag of the West at the moment anyway... It seems we all need an enemy (no matter if its a virtual one) in order to unite. It insults my intelligence.
Dariush A., Berlin
Yes, indeed. Iran is playing a double game. They work to promote the interests of Shia Iraqis, but only under their control. Iran's nightmare is a freely elected democracy sitting next door to their mullah dictatorship. Iran must see the Blair/Bush vision fail, otherwise the Iranian regime will inevitably fall.
Mike Corcoran, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sorry Iran, only the United States and Great Britain are allowed to interfere in Iraq. Brush up on your Kipling.
David Reichenbach, Seattle USA
Blair should 'not' have made such remarks 'publicly'.
Chuck Dotson, Sacramento US
Blair said evidence led either to Iran or its Lebanese militant allies Hezbollah. Is this information from the same source who said that Iraq had WMD's and it can use them in hours against Britain?
Pekka, Helsinki, Finland
When will these politicians learn? How long could they accuse other countries with inconclusive evidence!
Aria, Montreal, Canada
Yes, Mr. Blair is correct to warn Iran. The relations with Iran would only get worse if Iran was not put on notice that they could be held responsible for British death. I for one am not in favor of our war on Iraq. Just the same, Mr. Blair has an obligation to his nation not to allow their solders to be attacked by or because of forces outside of the Iraq theatre of operations.
Ron Malloy, Stamford, CT USA
Well, of course not! This is perhaps another pretext to sow the seeds for the "liberation" of Iran. It's just like the 45-minute WMD claim!
Vinod Saranathan, New Haven, CT, USA
Last time there was no conclusive evidence about a country's "involvement" with things that go boom, that country got invaded. I wonder how long before it turns from "Iran's giving terrorists high explosives/is developing nukes" to "regime change" and "the world is safer". Fool us once shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.
Kathi, DC, USA
Yes Blair is right that there was "no justification" for any other country to interfere in Iraq...included Britain.
Tahir , Karachi - Pakistan
I think it is a bit hypocritical for Blair to warn neighbours from interfering in Iraq when both the UK and the US have so clearly interfered in Iraq. After all, the US has interfered in the affairs of not only all of Latin America but of many other countries including Iran where they staged two coups and a revolution. Having said that, it seems to me that although Iranian-made weapons may have found their way into Iraq, why should we accuse Iran of being involved? Is the US involved in thousands of attacks worldwide (also against US citizens) since US weapons are being used?
Blair better be right. If he plays Bush's game ... Blair's Bat Bait
John, San Francisco, CA
The truth needs to be told.
Kaz Bahjat, UK
Kind of ridiculous for Blair to warn Iran not to interfere in Iraq, which happens to be next door while Blair & Bush come thousands of miles to do just that!
Andrew Failes, Petersburgh USA
Mr. Blair's own justification for British troops' presence in Southern Iraq is very much in question. Bluster does not make an effective fig leaf!
Bramdean, North Carolina, USA