Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Monday, 3 December 2012

Oral questions

The government does not support a pre-emptive military strike on Iran over its nuclear ambitions "at this time", Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi has said, but stressed that "all options" are on the table.

Lady Warsi said the government believed the "twin track process" of engagement with Iran and pressure through sanctions was the best way to try to resolve the issue.

She was speaking in the Lords on 3 December 2012 after Labour peer Lord Wood of Anfield asked her what legal advice it had received about "assisting forces in a pre-emptive strike on another country".

Lady Warsi said it was not practice for the government to divulge information about any legal advice "we are obtaining, if any".

EU member states announced in October a new package of sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

They suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, something it denies.

Labour peer Lord Tomlinson seized upon Baroness Warsi's remarks to Lord Woolf that a military strike was not justified "at this time" asking when she thought it could be a viable option.

Lady Warsi responded: "As I have said right at the outset all options are on the table but it would be inappropriate for me to speculate in relation to what scenarios may come forward in the future."

She stressed that the government was "mindful" of its legal obligations under international law.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said an "all-out strike" on Iran would be "militarily inept, politically unsuccessful, and diplomatically disastrous".

Crossbench peer Baroness Deech told peers: "What we should be worrying about is the legality of preparation of nuclear weapons by Iran, and no country should have to face the choice between obliteration and self defence."

Lady Warsi said "successive" UN resolutions reflected the international community's "concerns" over Iran's nuclear ambitions.


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