Visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reassured the Israeli Knesset on Monday that his country would continue its efforts to prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb. In his address to the Israeli parliament, the first by a British prime minister, Brown said Iran must either halt its program or face international isolation. "It is totally abhorrent for the president of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world," Brown said. "The U.K. will continue to lead—with the U.S. and our EU partners—in our determination to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons program."
There have been some hopes that a new round of negotiations would provide a diplomatic opening to avoid a military showdown over Iran's nuclear program. Tehran asserts the program is for civilian power only and not for nuclear weapons as feared by the United States, Israel, and their European allies, including Britain. Both Israel and Iran recently held military exercises that further heightened concerns about a possible military attack and counterattack if diplomacy fails to halt Iran's uranium-enrichment activities, one element necessary to build a nuclear bomb.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking Monday in Abu Dhabi, accused Iran of not being serious at weekend talks about its halting nuclear program, despite Washington's concession of sending a senior U.S. diplomat to the session, and warned Iran may soon face new sanctions, according to the Associated Press. Rice said Iran had given the runaround to envoys from the United States and five other world powers. She said all six nations were serious about a two-week deadline Iran now faces to agree to freeze suspect activities and start negotiations or be hit with new penalties.