As UK ministers seek legal advice regarding involvement in military operations against Iran, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has sent a “timely reminder” to the government of their “international obligations”.
The organisation maintains that invading Iran in the current context would be illegal.
The letter, drafted by Public Interest Lawyers, comes as the P5+1 nations meet for further talks with Iran in Baghdad. It seeks assurances from David Cameron that the UK will not engage in illegal military action in Iran.
Following last week's meeting of the UK's National Security Council, it has been reported that the government's legal officers are “now examining the legality” of any involvement (either direct or indirect) in a military operation against Iran.
CND's letter expresses concern about the profusion of military rhetoric over fears that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. It seeks “to remind the Prime Minister that no concrete evidence has been provided to substantiate Western concerns and that military intervention on the basis of such an ill-defined threat would be illegal”.
The letter also “sets out the very limited circumstances prescribed by international law where pre-emptive military action can ever be justified.”
It explains, “In short, such military action must always be used as a last resort; must be sanctioned by the UN Security Council; must be multilateral in nature and must be in response to a clearly defined, instant and overwhelming threat. CND suggest that none of these criteria can be said to exist in the current Iranian context.”
CND's General Secretary, Kate Hudson, said that the consequences of a military attack on Iran would be disastrous for the region as a whole.
She added, “The lessons of both Iraq and Afghanistan show that there cannot be a military solution to complex regional problems – death and destruction is not the answer. Genuine dialogue and diplomacy on the basis of equality and respect is the only way forward.”